A Queenstown zoological gardens owner says she’s “disgusted” by some resort dog owners after she found at least five chickens and a beloved rooster “shredded” earlier this week.
Rachel Young’s public gardens, in Riverside Road, Frankton, are home to dozens of species of wild-life.
She awoke on Monday morning to find a dog or dogs had managed to get into the chicken enclosure and killed five.
On Tuesday, young children learning about horticulture at the farm discovered ‘Road Runner’, the rooster, which was least 15 years old, dead by the river.
Young, on Tuesday, says: “Yesterday I was upset, but today I’m very angry.
“It’s damned disgusting. One of the chickens was beheaded. There are feathers everywhere.
“It was clearly dogs, you can see the paw prints.
“I don’t blame the dogs, it’s the owners.”
The deaths are the latest flashpoint between the Wakatipu’s rural and residential communities regarding dogs.
Last month, Mountain Scene reported Tucker Beach resident Chas Recordon had complained to police about the shooting of two of his dogs by former rugby Highlander Kelvin Middleton, who farms Queenstown Hill station, and his father Arnold.
The Middletons said the dogs had been worrying stock and they’d warned Recordon before.
There have been several incidents elsewhere of sheep mauled and/or dogs shot in recent years, as the urban creep continues into rural areas.
Young says: “This kind of act is totally unacceptable. We have a dog attack every year.
“Generally there’s dogs running all over the place [on the Queenstown Trail near the gardens].
“The owner would have seen feathers and blood on the dog, but they’ve not said anything to us. All dogs should be on a lead and under control when they go past here.”
Principal monitoring and enforcement officer Anth-ony Hall says at this stage there’s not enough evidence to confirm it was dogs who attacked the poultry at the zoological gardens.
“With that being said, our monitoring and enforcement team is working with our parks and reserves team to possibly install signage in that area educating dog owners to place dogs on a lead while passing the zoological gardens.
“Our monitoring team also plans to do further proactive patrols in the near future.”