Dog killed after mauling 58 sheep
A dog has been destroyed and its owner convicted after 58 sheep were mauled to death on an Upper Moutere farm.
The dog's owner, Nadia Wrigley, 35, admitted this week in the Nelson District Court one charge under the Dog Control Act, of failing to ensure that "Missy", her labrador-bull cross, did not injure, endanger, or distress any livestock.
On the evening of May 21, neighbours of an Upper Moutere sheep farm, managed by NE Parke and Sons, reported they had seen two dogs chasing the flock and attacking sheep, Tasman District Council (TDC) lawyer Julian Ironside said in court.
A shepherd, Peter Phipps, went to the property and found dead and seriously injured sheep, some of which were so frightened that they had run into a farm pond and drowned, Mr Ironside said.
Mr Phipps, a second shepherd and a TDC dog control officer who was called to the farm, were able to capture 3-year-old Missy, but the other dog ran off and has not been identified, Mr Ironside said.
He said 58 sheep died as a result of the dogs' attack, some afterwards as a result of their injuries, or shock.
Missy's registration was traced back to Wrigley.
Her lawyer David Holloway told the court she was "normally very careful with her dog", which was usually locked inside or tied up outside.
On that day his client "let Missy out to go to the toilet and she just ran off", obviously and unfortunately to Mr Parke's farm, Mr Holloway said.
He said Wrigley accepted responsibility for Missy's part in the attack, which, along with her clean court record, and "genuine remorse", should mitigate her sentence.
"She's quite upset about this. She tells me she is an animal person," Mr Holloway said.
He said Wrigley had correctly registered the dog, as required by council bylaws, and had not resisted when the dog control officer told her that Missy would be destroyed.
Judge Tony Zohrab said he accepted "without hesitation" that Wrigley was a good citizen.
However, it was her oversight on that day which allowed Missy to "run amok", and dog owners had to be held accountable, he said.
He said the mauling must have been "incredibly distressing for the sheep" and for Mr Parke the sheep farm's manager, who was in the court's public gallery for Wrigley's sentencing.
"I have been told the cleanup was horrific. It took two staff three days to dispose of the dead animals and treat the injured animals," Judge Zohrab said.
He convicted Wrigley and fined her $500, which he said reinforced the responsibility dog owners must take upon themselves to keep their pets under control.
He ordered her to pay $9000 in reparation, which covered Mr Parke's insured losses, and the clean-up costs.
The sum also included a $1000 emotional harm payment, to be split between Mr Parke and the two shepherds who cleaned up after the mauling.
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