A bunch of Otago farmers are fuming after 14 cattle and sheep were slaughtered by a rogue shooter.
Police are investigating and fear a link after multiple reports that farm animals had been shot and killed around the Kuru Bush–Akatore area south of Dunedin.
Senior Sergeant Jared Kirk believes the incidents are linked and said police are taking them "very seriously".
"This is distressing for the people involved and members of the public in these communities so we want to assure people these animal deaths are being investigated thoroughly," he said.
Police were first called yesterday morning to a property on Akatore Rd after a cow had been shot and killed overnight.
Later yesterday morning, a second complaint was made that five sheep had been shot and killed, and another shot and wounded, overnight at a property on Takitakitoa Rd, Kuri Bush.
Then at 6pm yesterday, police took a third call from a person reporting that a bull had been shot and killed overnight at a Rongahere Rd address in Beaumont.
And this afternoon, police were told that three more sheep had been shot and killed last night at the same Takitakitoa Rd property as the earlier report, as well as two cows at a property across the road.
Local farmer Jim Adam was left scratching his head after two cattle beasts were found in a paddock near a roadside at the back of his property.
Both animals had been shot in the head near their eyes by a rifle. The animals had been sleeping with calves between 20m and 50m from the road when they were shot.
"We were going to shift them yesterday, of all things, but ran out of time, so at 5pm last night everything was okay. It definitely happened overnight," Adam said.
He said stock is occasionally illegally poached but usually it's purely for the meat.
On this occasion, the animals were left dead in the paddock.
Adam wonders who is behind the killings.
"You wonder if it's just idiots with guns for Christmas or something, I don't know," he said.
It is possible there are other incidents of stock being killed over the last few days which have not yet been reported to police, Kirk said.
"We are keen to hear from anyone else in Otago who may have been affected, and anyone who may have information which could assist us with our investigation," he said.