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Pregnant sheep with twins stolen and killed

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A sheep injured after an earlier attack by dogs at Maungaturoto Country Club. Photo / Provided

A ewe pregnant with twins on a farm owned by a Northland club was shot and stolen, with a volunteer blaming the theft on ‘difficult economic times’.

The grim discovery just inside the paddock between the Den and school fields on Bickerstaffe Rd was made by Maungaturoto Country Club volunteer Andrew Swadling during his daily walk around the farm to check all was well .

Over the years, the club has lost a number of lambs and ewes to marauding dogs, prompting the SPCA and Kaipara District Council to ask dog owners to take extra precautions to ensure the safety of vulnerable animals, especially during the lambing season.

Swadling said it was not the first time the club’s lambs and ewes had been stolen.

“It’s a sign of the difficult economic times, of Covid and the difficulties associated with it,” he said.

About a year ago, up to a dozen newborn lambs were mauled to death by a dog, prompting KDC animal control officers to set traps and surveillance cameras in the region.

Following this attack, Swadling discovered two injured lambs in a pen and took them to his home for treatment.

He said he patrols the farm twice a day while working full time.

“The dog problem subsided after 2020. Recently there have been dog attacks in the area but not here. This time someone killed a pregnant sheep between 3 and 7 years old and took away the meat “, did he declare.

The club did not report the latest theft, discovered by Swadling last Thursday, to police and council.

Dog attacks in recent years have prompted the club to install surveillance cameras and set traps.

Last month, Maungaturoto farmer Rex Roadley lost more than 100 sheep – including some of a prized breed – to dog attacks.

The KDC animal management report for 2020-2021 noted a 24% decrease in dog attacks in Maungaturoto.

Previously, KDC had received a large number of complaints about owners not keeping their dogs under control, picking up their dogs, or letting their dogs roam the streets.

Under the Control of Dogs Act 1996, owners of dogs disturbing sheep were liable to a fine plus the damage caused by the attack.