Three sheep died and Napier City Council animal control has impounded at least two dogs after an attack by dogs in a paddock on the southern outskirts of Napier early yesterday.

Animal control officers and police were called to the property between Willowbank Ave and Eriksen Rd, about 8am.

NCC animal control team leader Steve Turpin confirmed later that three sheep were "fatally wounded" in the attack and that offending dogs had been impounded. An investigation is continuing to consider whether any charges can be laid over the incident, the latest in a seasonal spate on farm and orchard properties close to Napier and Hastings.

In what is thought to have been the most serious incident attack, more than 40 sheep died after an attack about a fortnight ago, among sheep grazing at an orchard off Portsmouth Rd, Flaxmere.

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Under the Dog Control Act an owner of a dog which has attacked sheep can be fined up to $3000 and be ordered to pay for any losses, while the dog may be destroyed.

Dogs involved in such attacks, usually on the fringes of cities, towns and suburbs, are unlikely to come from farms.

Veteran stock buyer and farmer Don McLeod of Fernhill believes some are not getting the home tucker they are used to in the winter months. "Keep them tied up or yarded at night."