Radio New Zealand today (Wednesday April 1) interviewed the Police Otago Coastal Area Commander Jason Guthrie about last Junes reported "shooting deaths" of 215 sheep.
The sheep were found killed over two consecutive weekends on two Ngapara farm properties inland from Oamaru - and was reported as a mysterious shooting rampage by armed maniacs.
Commander Guthrie reports that Police are confident that the 215 sheep were killed by two local dogs that have been identified - and no shooting was involved. - A police detective has conducted a thorough investigation - including sheep skulls being sent to Australia for examination by a Forensic Veterinarian - and find that the deaths were caused by the crush injuries typical of dog attack.
As further confirmed by the total absence of any projectiles or bullet fragments - no fired cases nor any bullet wound evidence on the dead animals - it is conclusive that no shooting was involved in the animals deaths. (Police used metal detectors in a thorough search of the area.)
Further, the investigating officer conducted live firing tests using a suppressed .223" calibre rifle and the sound of shooting was clearly audible from the test firing - whereas there had been no sound of firing when the animals died.
Local farmers are reluctant to accept that shooting was not involved and say that dogs couldn't have killed that many of their stock.
I note that historically - Otago farmers had no problem blaming thousands of sheep deaths on Alpine Parrots, (Keas)
.. And not so long ago, - the death of dairy cows - caused by "swede poisoning" was blamed on lead poisoning supposedly from a clay shooting gun club!