Prominent Northland animal rescuer Summer Johnson says a charge laid against her over the alleged theft of a dog was “a complete waste of her time and taxpayer money”.

Johnson, from Kawakawa, was charged with theft of an animal after refusing to return an injured dog to its owners.

Sheba, a rottweiler cross, was found wandering and struggling to walk and ended up at Johnson’s Bay of Islands Animal Rescue last year. Johnson said she was malnourished and had been poorly treated – so when the owners wanted her back, she refused and they went to the police.

“The previous owner confirmed she’d been hit by a truck (two years ago),” Johnson told 1News at the time.

“They took her to the vet who had said it was going to be a $3000 operation, or to be put down, and they did neither but took her home and chained her up.”

Johnson appeared in the Kaikohe District Court in October and pleaded not guilty in front of a packed public gallery filled with her supporters.

Judge Davis joked that her next appearance may need to be at Eden Park – but just before Christmas, police temporarily withdrew the charge while further investigations were carried out.

“It’s a huge relief as I should never have been put in this situation… and worse still, the owners have not been held accountable,” Johnson said.

The owners told 1News they couldn’t afford the $3000 for Sheba’s surgery and were advised she’d be OK without it.

They also wouldn’t give the Bay of Island Rescue Centre permission to have the surgery carried out. Sheba had the surgery earlier this month.

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