WARNING: DISTRESSING IMAGES

A Te Puke family has been left devastated after dogs mauled and killed nine goats - the third dog attack on their rural property in one year.

Bridget Maher said she had spoken out to raise awareness and was ''really angry about irresponsible dog owners''.

''I just want to get this message out there about roaming dogs. ''

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She supplied the Bay of Plenty Times with graphic photos of the goats with grisly wounds or who had drowned after being chased into a pond.

The Maher's property runs between Gridley and Rangiuru Rds and her husband Lee made the gruesome discovery on December 2 after a night of torrential rain.

''Our goats had been attacked by dogs and either killed or left to die of their injuries. We did not see the dogs so we don't know how many there were.''

Nine goats were killed in a dog attack on a rural property east of Te Puke earlier this month. Photo / Supplied
Nine goats were killed in a dog attack on a rural property east of Te Puke earlier this month. Photo / Supplied

The experience was ''horrific'' and ''horrible'' as the couple had to bury the goats including Bill, a billygoat they had owned for 13 years.

''He was our friend, they all were so it was pretty awful. Bill was a Boer goat and we travelled to the South Island last year and bought another billygoat to improve the bloodlines but we lost him in the attack too.''

The incident wiped out almost half of their herd but luckily 15 were safe as they were closer to the house.

Staff at the Western Bay of Plenty District Council pound had been contacted and installed a trap but Maher said ''we are not allowed to shoot the dogs unless we see them worrying stock''.

About the same time last year 10 of the Maher's sheep were killed in two incidents that happened one week apart.

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The council's animal services officer Melissa Murton said the council was doing all it could to try to locate the dogs.

"This is, sadly, the tragic consequence of irresponsible dog ownership, lack of control and/or confinement by owners of their dogs on their property. Dogs roam at night – and many people are totally unaware that their dog, which was there in the evening for dinner and again there in the morning for breakfast – could have been out killing during the night."

An SPCA spokeswoman said the SPCA ''is very concerned about the repeated dog attacks that the Maher's sheep and goats have been subjected to in Te Puke''.

''It is an offence under the Dog Control Act 1996 for dogs to injure, endanger, or cause distress to any stock, poultry, domestic animal or protected wildlife. SPCA strongly advocates responsible dog ownership which involves desexing, microchipping, socialising and training, appropriate food, water, shelter, exercise, veterinary care and that the dog is under your care at all times.''

A police spokesperson said police sometimes get involved in specific investigations but it was more likely to be the SPCA.