A Queenstown farmer whose sheep were mauled in a brutal attack has appealed to dog owners to act responsibly.
Remarkables Station farmer John Saunders, 65, found one sheep dead and three so badly injured they had to be put down on Wednesday.
The sheep had been grazing on land next to Jack’s Point village and Saunders suspects a large local dog is to blame.
Saunders says: “When you discover animals that have half their faces ripped off it’s quite shocking.
“They were horrific injuries because they are woolly sheep, which means the dog can only get at it by going for the face.
“I was horrified of course.”
The mob of 850 hoggets was grazing land owned by the residential development and golf course.
“I’ve nothing against Jack’s Point, it’s just a learning curve for all of us,” Saunders says.
“It’s quite rare but we’ve got people moving into an area who are perhaps used to letting their dogs roam night and day.
“But when you have sheep in those areas, dog owners need to act responsibly.”
The attacks happened sometime between Saturday and Wednesday. The four hoggets were worth about $800 in total.
“You’re tempted to go round door to door and ask if their dog had blood on them but I tend to steer clear of that.
“I’ve got over the worst of my anger and will just carry on working. But it’s horrific to see these injuries with sheep still alive with half their faces torn off. It’s a terrible thing and that’s what gets you.”
Under the Dog Control Act, as soon as a sheep becomes startled because of the presence of an animal a farmer has grounds to shoot.
“No farmer wants to shoot a dog. And you don’t want to go round shooting people’s dogs; it’s not the best of human relations exercises.”
Remarkables Station sold 420 hectares of its 2600 hectares for the posh village resort and golf club in 1999.
Saunders is farm manager, with around 4350 sheep under his care.