An Adelaide dog lover hired a lawyer, fought the council, then staged a dramatic break-in for his canine companion, Max, who was scheduled to be destroyed at the Animal Welfare League in Mt Gambier on Monday 14 September. The two then went on the run.
Owner Ronnie Gilbertson said he had "made an oath" to protect Max whatever happened, The Advertiser reported on Sunday.
The break-in involved a pair of wire cutters smuggled into the dog shelter in the last hours before Max's scheduled execution.
Max, a Staffordshire-cross, was on death row after seriously injuring a neighbourhood dog. Gilbertson had earlier hired a lawyer and spent more than $6000 fighting the Grant District Council, which issued the destruction order in May.
Gilbertson's wife told reporters that her husband had her full support because "he loves his dog as much as anyone would love his son".
The couple have two children, a two-year-old daughter and an eleven-week-old son.
Ronnie and his canine accomplice have not been seen since Sunday, but may have fled interstate. Mt Gambier police said Gilbertson would be charged with removing a seized or detained dog and property damage.
District Court judge Paul Rice will tomorrow determine whether the council's estimated $20,000 court costs will be awarded against Gilbertson.
Crime Stoppers is also calling for information on the missing pair.