Owner of sheep-killer dogs due in court

EMMA BAILEY
Last updated 05:00 20/05/2014

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The Waimate man whose two pitbulls fatally ripped the throats of 38 sheep will appear in the Timaru District Court next week.

Sergeant Mike van der Heyden, of Waimate, said yesterday the man would appear on May 29 on two charges of owning a dog that attacked stock.

"It is a fine-only offence," van der Heyden said.

"He will be appearing in front of justices of the peace."

The attack took place on Saturday, April 12. The pitbulls ripped the throats of 38 sheep which had to be put down, while 14 others were injured.

The dogs are said to be known to Waimate District animal control. One dog was shot during the attack and the other captured and put down.

The attack happened as the mob of about 85 sheep were in a leased paddock at the Waimate Racecourse.

The lambs are worth more than $4000, at about $85 each, and a two-tooth ewe is worth about $120.

Dog control officer Karen Buchanan said it was instinctive "prey drive" in the dogs to attack.

When she got to the paddock a tan dog was obviously getting tired and although still attacking the stock, it did not have the energy to pull the sheep down.

The other dog, which was white, was seen while she was walking around to assess the damage after the first dog was shot.

It was about 9.30am and it ran off through the trees. It was caught later and put down.

She said that under the Control Act 1996 it was the dog owner's responsibility to pay for the dead sheep.

The dog owner claimed that he tied the dogs up at 3am on Saturday and that they must have slipped their chains.

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- The Timaru Herald

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