A Queenstown farmer is considering chucking it in after a brutal dog attack last week on sheep and unborn lambs.
Pete Davenport says dogs killed four or possibly five ewes on a Littles Road block last Thursday night.
Three of the ewes also carried nearly-born twins.
“There was $2000 worth of damage, I reckon.”
Davenport – who’s farmed almost 50 years in the Wakatipu – suspects “bulldog-type” dogs were the culprits because the ewes’ throats were ripped out and eyes and noses chewed.
“It’s a terrible bloody death.
“Other times I’ve had Rottweilers attack sheep and while they’re still alive, eat the meat from their back legs.
“It’s sickening – farmers are used to death and blood, but you’d never kill a sheep that way.”
Davenport says last Friday morning he visited the occupant of a nearby house whose tenants own “those pitbull-type things”.
“The guy there just denied it, but in the last 20 years I’ve shot four or five dogs from that house.”
Davenport says he noticed a patch of water in the driveway where he suspects the dog’s blood had been cleaned up.
“I did contact the police before 11 in the morning but they didn’t come till quarter to 7.”
Davenport, 72, says the problem’s worsening.
“You’re lucky to get by a couple of months without something.
“This sort of thing makes me wonder whether I should carry on, because of all the [rural] subdivisions happening now and all the people coming out from town – the first thing they want to do is get a dog”.
Davenport, who estimates he’s shot about 20 dogs, says he always carries a rifle, especially during lambing season.
Any dog caught in a paddock will be shot, even if it’s not touching a sheep, he warns.
“I like dogs – I hate shooting dogs.But a dog is a natural enemy of a sheep and it stresses them out – they move away and ewes often leave one of their twins behind.”
Owners should fence in their dogs, Davenport says.
Whoever owns the dogs responsible for last week’s attack should watch out: “I’ve got people watching out in that particular area and I’ve told them if they see anything or hear anything in the middle of the night just to give me a ring.”
Davenport adds: “By Jesus, I’m a bloody good shot – I can get [dogs] on the run.”
Mountain Scene couldn’t contact anyone at Queenstown police yesterday who could explain why cops were slow to respond.
However a spokesperson says enquiries are continuing.
Otago SPCA chief inspector Virginia Pine says that under the Dog Control Act, “as soon as the sheep becomes startled because of the presence of an animal, then you have grounds [to shoot it]”.
“We must always remember that it is owners’ responsibility to keep their dogs under control at all times.”