The owners of a dog found with its throat slit believe it is linked to opposition to a proposed oil drilling venture on their land.
Mark and Annabel Franklin found the body of their 14-year-old jack russell, Pip, on the deck of their farmhouse about 20 kilometres southeast of Dannevirke on June 9.
Dannevirke police have been informed and are investigating.
"It knocked the socks off both of us," Mr Franklin said. "It was just a disgusting, despicable thing for someone to do."
The fourth-generation farmer of the property in Mangatuna Rd told The Dominion Post the family had been severely shaken by the action, which they believed was linked to a resource consent application by oil companies TAG/Apache to build a well pad on their property.
Mr Franklin said he could understand opposition to the proposal but struggled to believe it could provoke this sort of behaviour.
He said a community meeting of residents discussing the application had been held on the Wednesday before the dog was killed. The Franklins attended and "walked into a bit of an ambush".
"It was quite hostile and there seemed to be a lot of facts that didn't seem to apply to our situation. We were quite shaken after that."
It was enough to prompt the couple to speak to their lawyer about getting out of their contract with TAG/Apache. The companies had been very understanding and excellent to deal with, he said.
The companies, which hold permits to explore the North Island's east coast, have lodged an application with Horizons Regional Council to build an access road and a well pad at another property east of Dannevirke. Applications to drill an exploratory well will follow.
- The Dominion Post