Two bullmastiff dogs were shot by an animal control officer after they killed a lamb and harassed sheep in a "frenzy" at a farm in Dunedin yesterday.

Police were called to a Green Island property about 10am following reports from concerned residents who had heard gunshots.

Acting Senior Sergeant Tania Baron said the dogs, which had been reported missing, were reportedly seen earlier disturbing cattle and sheep, and Dunedin City Council animal control was advised.

Senior animal control officer Jim Pryde said a farmer required assistance in controlling the dogs, which had killed a lamb on his property.


"They chased another mob of sheep but, at that stage, it is unsure whether there are any other injuries or deaths."

Mr Pryde said the first approach by animal control officers was to catch the dogs, but when that was unsuccessful, "we had to revert to the destruction of them".

"They wouldn't come to any call to be caught, and were too interested in the other animals. That is why the decision was made to destroy them."

The dogs were registered and came from a nearby property, he said.

The incident was a reminder for dog owners to have their dogs "supervised and secured".