Help sought in hunt for carcass dumpers

By Roger Moroney

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Hawke's Bay's Esk River bridge and banks have become what frustrated authorities are calling a "disgusting dumping place" with the latest disturbing find being an adult stag that had simply been shot and dumped.

Around it were six sets of severed deer hindquarters.

The find, by an Esk Valley resident last weekend left Hawke's Bay regional Council rivers officer Vince Byrne upset and angry.

People who would do something like that were "loathesome creatures", he said.

The stag, with distinctive four-point antlers on one side and five on the other, appeared to have been shot "just for fun", he said.

Unlike the other body parts found, there had been no attempt to remove the antlers or meat.

"Just shot, taken there, and dumped. It's one of the worst things I've seen."

It was not the first time the area under the bridge, and its surroundings, had been used as a dump.

One resident who had been in the Esk area for more than five years said it was frequent.

"I've come home a few times to find carcasses actually dumped in my driveway," he said.

"You come across dead carcasses and parts - and pigs, sometimes just the head - everywhere."

He had almost got used to encountering a "stink" coming from somewhere in the area.

Mr Byrne said it fell to council staff to cover their noses and faces and remove the rotting carcasses, which during the heat of the summer became "bloody unpleasant and hard to deal with".

He said the stag shooting was particularly tough to take as it was "a beautiful animal".

"They've simply shot it and left it ... just despicable."

There was one clue as to who may have been responsible, however, and he asked anyone with information about a white twin-cab utility vehicle, possibly a pre-1996 Toyota or Mazda, which was seen under the bridge area about 10.30pm last Sunday to contact him at the regional council.

"We can prosecute under the Resource Management Act and we will."

Staff disposed of the latest grisly finds yesterday but Mr Byrne said he expected it would not be the last time they would be called.

"It's been going on for years."

In the past residents in the area had gone to police but conceded little could be done.

"Police have been good, really helpful," one man said.

"They've been out here and done patrols in the area but they can't be here all the time."

Mr Byrne said it did not appear carcasses or parts were being thrown into the river.

He said there were plans afoot to erect fencing and locked gates throughout the bridge access area and to assign keys to authorised and approved people only.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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