A spate of stock thefts in Wairarapa late last year preceded a spike in the number of animal carcasses and offal found dumped beside rivers in the district over past weeks.
The Wairarapa Times-Age reported the discovery of sheep hides and heads beside the Ruamahanga River at Gladstone earlier this month near a popular swimming spot in to which offal from the animals had been thrown.
A swimmer, who declined to be named, had complained about the grisly discovery and Brian McWilliams, Carterton District Council community facilities manager, said the find was the latest in the location despite the barring of vehicles to a nearby stretch of the riverside.
He said vehicle access had been halted about two years ago after the sustained and illegal dumping at the site of animal carcasses -- pigs, cows, sheep -- and household rubbish and whiteware.
A woman, who would also not be named, said she was walking her dogs beside the Ruamahanga River near Martinborough earlier this month and was appalled to find the remains of a deer and sheep in and near the waterway. She walked her pets daily near the river and said she had often made the disturbing finds of animal carcasses and offal since moving to the town four years ago.
She took photographs of the remains and posted the images to Facebook.
"I was absolutely over it all. However, now that SPCA inspectoral services have resumed in the Wairarapa, I really hope to see a huge decrease in this appalling behaviour," the woman said.
Senior Sergeant Gordon Crawley said there had been a spate of stock thefts reported to police ahead of Christmas last year and he was not surprised at the reported prevalence of carcasses dumped in or beside waterways in the region.
He was aware of a sign posted near a rural riverside warning "whoever the dirty buggers are" to stop dumping carcasses at the place.
"It wouldn't surprise me [that] people would be dumping carcasses and offal around rivers, to be brutally honest, and it's possibly stolen stock," Mr Crawley said.
"We did have a spate of people stealing stock pre-Christmas," he said.
Police at the time had warned rural people to be alert after six ewes and four lambs were stolen, and possibly butchered, at a Blairlogie farm, and a calf was butchered near the roadway on a Stronvar farm.
The incidents had happened about the same time.
Masterton police Senior Sergeant Mike Sutton said there had been no reports of stock thefts since Christmas but often "the odd sheep" lost to thieves can go unnoticed and the crimes remain under-reported.
He urged rural people to report any suspicious behaviour to police.