Warning: This article contains graphic images some people may find distressing.
Would-be swimmers made a gruesome discovery when they found mutilated sheep carcasses in a popular swimming spot this morning.
The sheep were stolen from the Landcorp-owned Rangiputa farm, and their carcasses were dumped in Lake Rotopokaka.
Landcorp is currently conducting an investigation into the theft of the animals.
Peter Wiessing, the council's Kaitaia area manager, told Newshub the dumping was not only illegal but dangerous to public health.
"This is a very popular swimming lake and it's quite disrespectful and offensive that someone would throw material there, given that these things, if they're left there for any length of time, can degrade and cause human health issues."
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However, he says the lake - commonly known as 'Coca Cola Lake' for its distinctive colour - is now safe to swim in again because the carcasses were not left in the water for long.
"The carcasses that were dumped in the lake were fairly fresh. There's no evidence of any contamination because they were taken out so quickly."
Mr Wiessing called the dumping a "pretty disgusting act".
"We're certainly disappointed that they would disrespect a very popular swimming hole in this manner."
While he doesn't condone poaching of any kind, he says if anyone finds themselves needing to dispose of offal, they must do so a minimum of 50m away from water.
"Just do the right thing and don't dump into waterways, because it's a fallacy that the eels eat it and it's good for the waterways," he told Newshub.
"It's not. It pollutes the water and can lead to human health issues."
He says offal must also be covered to prevent odours and discourage vermin.