A Queenstown farmer’s putting out a warning to dog owners after dogs mutilated eight of his sheep at Wilson Bay last Sunday night.

Closeburn Station’s Grant McMaster says out of a mob of 60 sheep, three were killed, five more have had to be put down and five or six suffered superficial cuts.

‘‘The neighbours let me know, I went down and the dogs then buggered off, it was too dark to see them but I think there were one or two.

‘‘They’ve gone home and it wouldn’t be very far away, they’ll have to be absolutely covered in blood because it’s like a bloody battlefield.

‘‘There’s a fair loss of income, but that’s not what this is about, it’s just the actual cruelty those sheep have gone through.’’

McMaster, who’s farmed Closeburn for 18 years, says this is the worst attack out of three or four he’s experienced.

‘‘People just need to take responsibility for their dogs, the owners of these dogs are as much at fault as the bloody dogs are.

‘‘Those owners obviously didn’t know where they were, and they’re roaming around at night — it’s unacceptable.’’

Since the attack, McMaster’s been undertaking nightly vigils at the scene, and says he’d have no compunction about destroying the dog, or dogs, should they return.

‘‘People might be a bit shocked, but that’s the law, you’re allowed to.’’

Responding to Scene queries, council spokesman Sam White says the incident hasn’t been reported to council’s animal control team.

‘‘However, any dog that attacks stock could [see the owner] face a range of enforcement tools depending on the circumstances of the case as per the Queenstown Lakes District Council enforcement strategy and prosecution policy.’’

Those tools range from a verbal warning all the way up to prosecution.

Under the Dog Control Act, White points out, anyone witnessing a dog attacking stock may seize or destroy it.

The owner of the dog is liable for a fine not exceeding $3000, and a court can also order the dog to be destroyed.

The owner of stock, or his/her agent, can also either seize or destroy any dog running at large amongst stock.

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