Max getting a tummy rub. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

KAREN COLTMAN
karen.coltman@age.co.nz

While 78-year-old Dick Smith was in his office at the Featherston Community Centre on Monday afternoon, a man stole his vehicle and his dog Max.

“I ran out and tried to stop him, but the guy was determined to drive off with my wagon and I thought he was going to run me over, so I got out of the way,” Smith said.

Smith is very worried about his fox terrier Max whom he has owned for nine years and wanted him back home safely.

He said the boot tray of the back of his Silver Hyundai vehicle, where his dog was resting, automatically comes down when you drive off.

“The driver may not even know he has Max with him as Max probably won’t bark because he only barks around my house in Featherston when he is guarding the property.”

Smith said on Tuesday the police had no leads on where the vehicle or dog were, and he was hoping for news.

It was understood the thief could have been heading to Martinborough.

Max went to the office every day that Smith did.

Smith usually has a dog leash in the vehicle and has his dog on the lead around the office, but he had just cleaned out the vehicle and didn’t put the leash back in it.

On Monday, he opened up the back of the vehicle and had a water bowl in there for him as the dog couldn’t wander around the centre.

“Max is a family member – we love him. There is nothing of value in the vehicle, but Max is very valuable to me and my family.”

Smith’s daughter Francie was upset for her dad and had alerted the Featherston community via social media.

“Everyone in Featherston knows Dick, and dad is missing Max badly. He loves his animals,” she said.

Smith served in the army for 25 years and in Vietnam and “gets on with everyone”.

He was the president of the Featherston Returned Services Association for many years.

The vehicle is a silver 2009 Hyundai Tuscon – registration EJS 923.

It has three stick-on ornaments on the back window with red poppies on them.

There is a long scratch on the driver’s side.

  • Anyone who has seen the dog or has information about the vehicle or theft can contact Crime Stoppers on: 0800 555 111, or Masterton Police on 06 370 0300.