Cows and sheep on at least four Otago farms have been shot dead by a mystery shooter in the middle of the night.
Otago police yesterday received three reports of animals being shot overnight on properties across the region.
A cow was shot and killed on a property on Akatore Road, Akatore, while another farmer said five sheep had been shot and killed, and another shot and wounded, at a property on Takitakitoa Road, Kuri Bush.
A third farmer said a bull had been shot and killed overnight at a Rongahere Road address in Beaumont.
Another complaint was received today, with a report that three more sheep had been shot and killed last night at the same Takitakitoa Road property as the earlier report, as well as two cows at a property across the road.
In a statement, police said the incidents appeared to be linked and they were taking the matter very seriously.
"This is distressing for the people involved and members of the public in these communities so we want to assure people these animal deaths are being investigated thoroughly."
Police said there may have been more incidents of stock being killed over the past few days which have not yet been reported.
"We are keen to hear from anyone else in Otago who may have been affected, and anyone who may have information which could assist us with our investigation.
"Someone out there will know who is responsible and we encourage them to come forward."