24 Jun 2014

Neighbours to sheep shooting worried

8:36 pm on 24 June 2014

Neighbours of a North Otago farm where nearly 200 sheep have been shot say they also fear what will happen next.

Police are investigating the unexplained slaughter in Ngapara, 30km inland from Oamaru at the weekend. Peter Stackhouse discovered the dead sheep, and others wandering injured, at sites about 1km inside his farm over two successive nights.

On Saturday morning, he found 110 sheep that had been killed and though he shifted the flock, another 80 hoggets were killed on Saturday night.

Mr Stackhouse said the the killing of his stock was a great shock and he was not sleeping well, worrying about what will happen next. Although the sheep were shot, he had not found any spent cartridges or bullets.

He said his family has farmed the area for 60 years and he knew of no-one who would have a reason to do this or have a grudge against him.

Neighbour Terry Conlan said on Tuesday the shooter or shooters must have known the layout of the farm, but he can't think of anyone with a motive.

He said the Stackhouse family are very community-minded people and he is gutted they have lost $30,000 worth of stock.

Mr Conlan said locals are also troubled by the idea that someone is roaming the area with a high-powered rifle.

"This has just blown out of nothing really, it's a big shock. It's a quiet community round here, you get nothing like this coming around. The person had to know the area to find them - either that, or he's watching you in the day. So it is a worry."

Mr Conlan's comments have been backed by several other farmers living close by and a truck driver.

SPCA chief executive Ric Odom said the mass shooting beggars belief and it's one of the most extreme cases the organisation has heard of.