updated 9/23/2005 12:20:58 PM ET 2005-09-23T16:20:58

It was almost inevitable New Zealand's election would turn into a dog fight when you look at one of the country's 2.83 million voters -- Toby the Jack Russell terrier.

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Toby became a registered voter when his owner, Peter Rhodes of Queenstown, completed an enrollment form in the dog's name, giving his occupation as "rodent exterminator" and his age as 28.

He signed the form with a squiggle and Toby's paw print before returning it to the Electoral Enrollment Center, the Otago Daily Times reported.

Rhodes, an aviation safety specialist who said he was making a humorous point about local government bureaucracy, was shocked to receive written confirmation of Toby's enrollment in the Otago electorate on New Zealand's South Island.

Voting is not compulsory in New Zealand and Rhodes said Toby had elected not to vote.

"The only roll he's interested in is a dog roll, not the electoral roll," Rhodes told the paper.

Electoral Enrollment Center manager Murray Wicks was more angry than amused that an application filed by a dog had slipped through the center's checking system.

"It's an offense, and whoever's done it will be in the hands of the police," he said.

Wicks said Rhodes could be charged with misleading a registrar of electors, making a fraudulent enrollment and making a false declaration, "to name a few" possible charges.

The outcome of the election remained in the balance Friday. The ruling Labour Party holds a one-seat, election-night majority over the opposition National Party pending coalition talks and the counting of absentee ballots, but neither of the major parties has an outright majority.

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