Worried Hawke's Bay farmers meet with local mayor over dog attacks on stock

Farmers want tougher laws on roaming dogs  after continued attacks on stock.
Farmers want tougher laws on roaming dogs after continued attacks on stock. Photo credit: Supplied/Sue Dixon

A group of Hawke's Bay farmers have met with the Hastings mayor, as attacks on stock from roaming dogs continue.

Over the past month there have been 12 reports of dogs chasing stock and 143 sheep killed in different locations.

A group nine farmers have met with Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst to discuss the current situation and how to address it.

Farmer spokesperson Denise Davis, who had five properties targeted by roaming dogs, said while there had been dog attacks on stock last year, it was nowhere near the scale seen this month, resulting in a significant loss of revenue.

"It's not just from the loss of the animals, it's also employing someone to dispose of the carcases, the vet bills for the injured sheep and then there the stress affecting the rest of the flock, and their productivity," she said.

She said the attacks had been devastating.

"We take great pride in finishing our stock well, all of us are up throughout the night monitoring the stock," said Davis.

"We need these dog owners to be responsible, to tie their dogs up at night and know where they are during the day, and they need to be accountable."

On behalf of the farmers she called for the current legislation to be reviewed to better protect livestock and make irresponsible owners more liable.

"In the meantime we know moonlit nights are a problem and are preparing for the next full moon in July - any help the community can give us by reporting wandering dogs would be appreciated."

Meanwhile Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the council was committed to helping the community find a solution, in an area where there was a lot of stock and a mix or rural and urban properties.

"We've seen some horrific cases of dog attacks and we are all coming together to say these dogs need to be found and the owners prosecuted," she said.

"I will be working with our local MP to say we need to look at the legislation - it's old and needs to be updated - and we are going to work hard to ensure all the district's dogs are microchipped and that dog owners are held accountable for the damage that it's caused," said Hazlehurst.

Of the attacks to date, five dogs had been impounded at the council's animal control centre, three summary prosecutions were pending, and two dogs had been returned to their owners who were fined.

Animal control had increased both night and day patrols, and had widened the patrol areas.