Goat euthanised after being tasered 13 times by Oamaru policeman

  • 26/07/2018

Warning: This video contains footage that may disturb some viewers.

A goat had to be put down after being tasered 13 times by a police officer in Oamaru.

Video footage was released by police today after several investigations had been conducted into the incident, which happened in December 2016.

This included an independent investigation by the Ministry for Primary Industries under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

The video shows what police describe as a 'feral goat' being tasered in a garage.

The goat was tasered after an Animal Control Officer unsuccessfully tried to secure the goat following an hour-long chase as it ran through peak morning traffic on Thames Highway - almost causing crashes.

Children who were walking to school were in the vicinity, police say. It eventually made its way into a garage, which is when police were contacted.

Police considered the agitated state of the goat and its on-going risk to the public and decided not to shoot the goat, favouring a "lesser use of force" in an attempt to preserve the animal's life.

The officer attempted to use a harness to secure the goat before he deployed the taser.  In the video, the officer can be heard saying, "I know bud, you poor thing" in the moments afterward.

The officer's intention was to incapacitate the goat so it could be restrained, police say. After being tasered 13 times, it was secured in a harness and a vet was called. 

The Independent Police Conduct Authority reviewed the police investigation into the incident, and was satisfied police had investigated the matter appropriately. 

Police had previously withheld the video, as it considered the content too graphic for public release. However, after an appeal to the Ombudsman, the vision was released. 

An internal investigation also recommended the need to update police taser policy, clarifying the approach and expectations in relation to the use of tasers on animals.

Southern District Commander Superintendent Paul Basham says he understands the footage would garner a lot of reactions, but the officer was acting in good faith. 

"With the benefit of hindsight, it is accepted that this incident could have been handled differently," Supt Basham said.

"However I reiterate that the officer involved was acting in good faith to manage a dynamic and exceptionally rare, if not unprecedented situation which posed a risk to the public."

He said he backed the officer's decision and that police are committed to learning from the situation.

However Save Animals From Exploitation (SAFE) says police should be prosecuted over the incident, as there was no risk to public safety.

"Police are there to uphold the law, not break it - and in this case, it is exactly what they did," said SAFE Ambassador Hans Kriek.

In a statement, Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier said he welcomed the police decision to release the footage without him having to formally recommend doing so. 

He said it was difficult for him to see how withholding the footage was necessary or justified under the Official Information Act.