Call to kill dogs that mauled sheep

EVAN HARDING
Last updated 05:00 20/12/2012

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Two "cute" spaniels that ripped the skin off a terrified sheep and ate it alive should be destroyed, says an Invercargill woman who witnessed the attack.

Angela Castle said she tried to shield her children from the "gross" spectacle as the two dogs attacked the lamb in a paddock off Kew Rd yesterday morning.

"I saw them ripping at it, I kept saying to the kids, ‘don't look'. It was gross, they were really pulling it to pieces, they ripped its skin off."

It reminded her that dogs, no matter how domesticated, were still primal animals, she said.

"I wouldn't have expected those cute-looking dogs to have done that."

She believed the dogs should be destroyed so they could not do the same to other sheep.

When the sheep's owner, Selwyn Helms, was alerted to the attack he rushed to the scene and caught the dogs, who did not resist.

The guts of the sheep, which was barely alive, were hanging out and meat had been chewed off its back.

Mr Helms put it out of its misery.

Three other sheep in the small flock were also bloodied after being attacked by the dogs, he said, adding it was the third time this year sheep on his land had been killed by dogs.

Despite this, he was not so sure the dogs responsible for yesterday's attack should be destroyed, saying they were someone's pet.

He said he wanted the owners to keep better control of their animals, before adding: "I don't really want to see them put down but if they do that when they are around sheep they have to be."

Police and city council animal control officers were quickly on the scene. The bloodied dogs were led to the animal control wagon, put in the back and taken to the city pound.

City council environmental health manager John Youngson said they had located the dog owners, but declined to say who they were.

If the owners did not get the dogs destroyed the city council was required to go through an investigation process to determine what offences had occurred before their fate was decided. "One of the options will be to put them down."

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