Vicious dogs decimate sheep flock at Ambury
11 April 2006
Sheep attacked by dogs in the early hours of Monday 10 April at Ambury Regional Park.
Sheep at Ambury Regional Park have been attacked twice in the last week by vicious dogs, leaving the flock severely decimated.
Yesterday’s attack left 18 ewes and one ram dead. ARC Park Ranger Stan Hall discovered 16 dead sheep scattered across two paddocks on the park’s 80 hectares of farmland. A further three animals had to be destroyed due to extensive puncture wounds in the neck. Park staff are monitoring other injured animals, hoping they will make a full recovery.
A little over a week ago 17 ram hoggets were found dead or fatally injured following a similar attack. Valued at around $800.00 each of these sheep were an integral part of the ARC farming operation’s breeding programme at Ambury.
This attack occurred in the early hours of the morning on 31 March. A camper was woken by the noise and managed to get a good look at the dogs – reported to be two Staffordshire-cross dogs – before they got away.
ARC General Manager Parks Lance Vervoort says these brutal attacks are causing great concern.
“These attacks have been vicious and brutal. It appears that the dogs are working together and bailing the sheep up in the corners of the paddocks to carry out their attack. The sheep are being choked to death and also have surface wounds on the inside leg which could indicate that one dog holds the animal whilst the other goes for the neck.
“The fact that no damage to the muscle areas of the dead animals is evident indicates that the attacks are ‘sport’ related and that the dogs are well-fed. We are extremely concerned that dogs with these tendencies are being allowed to roam freely at night and appeal to members of the public for any information they may have.
“These two attacks have made a significant impact on our internal stock breeding programme and on our education flock. The loss of the ram hoggets means that, in order to maintain the breeding programme that supplies the whole farm park network, we will have to go out and buy our rams for next year.
“The most recent incident has impacted upon our unique education flock. We raise a variety of sheep, including Pitt Island, Mohaka and Omahaki sheep, which have evolved from early European settlement in New Zealand. About a third of this flock has been lost,” he says.
Park staff and volunteers are maintaining a nightly vigil to protect the sheep. Members of the public with any information about dogs in the Ambury Regional Park area can contact the park’s rangers on 09 636 6118 or 021 366 254.
Ambury Regional Park’s farm education programme offers more than 7000 children a chance to learn about all aspects of farming each year. School programme topics include animal genetics, wool and milking, and children are able to find out about beef cattle breeds and sheep breeds that are representative of farming in New Zealand.
The park also has hens, pigs, rabbits, orphan pet lambs, bucket fed calves and a Clydesdale horse, alongside its commercial farm operation. The ewes, beef cows and yearlings at Ambury contribute to stock numbers on other regional parks across the ARC’s park network.