"We're not giving up" - that's the message from a Dunedin couple who are desperate to find their missing dogs after searching for more than a year.
Louisa Andrew and Alan Funnell’s campaign to find dogs Dice and Weed has led to hundreds of posters being plastered around the country from the far north to the deep south, but now some of the distinctive signs are being ripped down.
The dogs went missing from the couple’s rural home in Sandymount last October. Funnell and Andrew believe the dogs may have been taken, so started putting up lost dog signs all over the country.
“We’ve put up over 300 signs throughout New Zealand,” Funnell says.
“Far south as Bluff, just sent one through to Ahipara, which is up in the Far North.”
The pair even arranged an aerial banner to be flown over Auckland last year. The cost of the search is racking up.
“It would be $30,000 at least because of lost wages. If you add up everything like that, it's been huge,” Andrew said.
Volunteers like Sandy Winter have taken time off work to help put up signs, even doing it on holiday.
“Probably myself I’ve printed off 500, I've probably got 200 sitting in the car - they get dropped of wherever I am at the time,” she says.
But lately their efforts have been hampered, after Winter had her signs ripped down in Hanmer Springs, and one Nelson homeowner who was displaying a Dice and Weed sign received a letter from people who had ripped it down.
The writers said they pull down the signs “continuously around the South Island.”
“The reasons for this are… significant visual pollution of our landscape,” the letter read, adding that it was better for Andrew and Funnell to “move on through the grief cycle”.
Andrew says the letter was a “kick in the guts.”
“Why can't they accept we want to find our dogs? We're determined to find them. We'll just keep going.”