Animal control officers are looking for a dog that mauled to death dozens of newborn lambs at a Northland country club.
For the second year running, lambs have been targeted at the Maungaturoto Country Club, which is now considering security cameras. Meanwhile, Kaipara District Council animal control officers will set up traps and trail cameras in the area.
Club vice president Kathy Strong said the killing of 17 newborn lambs between last weekend and yesterday morning was "very disheartening".
The club relies heavily on income from lamb sales, she said. The dead lambs were between 1 day and 1 week old.
"We are getting lambs killed daily now. Last weekend, our farm manager discovered five had been mauled. We're finding one or two pretty much daily since.
"Even though people are helping with patrols, the newborn lambs keep getting killed. Our club is largely run by volunteers, even our farm manager is a volunteer, so it's very disheartening when lambs get killed," Strong said.
She said it was frustrating when dog owners did not take responsibility for the destruction their dogs did.
A dog did not have to be dangerous to attack stock, she said.
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The club has 350 ewes and between 400 and 450 lambs a year on its 56ha farm.
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"We believe it's just one dog that's responsible and our manager chased that dog from the farm a couple of days before the dead lambs were discovered.
"The lambs were warm, which meant they had just been killed. We'll see if we can get a dog trap. It's so disheartening.
"The same thing happened last year and the dog wasn't caught. It always happens at lambing time," Strong said.
The club is appealing to locals to photograph any dogs seen on the farm property.
Council spokesman Ben Hope said two animal management officers were to do a door-to-door catalogue of dogs in Maungaturoto yesterday and make owners aware that the dog responsible for the attack on lambs was being sought.
"The dog/dogs have never been witnessed attacking the lambs, so we do not have a description. Other methods such as trapping and trail cams will be deployed into the area also," he said.
As lambing season begins, SPCA is calling on all dog owners to take extra care to keep vulnerable animals safe.
It said the attack at the club highlighted the importance of dog owners to take extra care to ensure their dogs were under control during lambing season.
"Every year sheep and lambs are injured or killed by roaming dogs. Even a dog acting in a friendly way can be very stressful for ewes that are in lamb, to the point where they can lose lambs," a spokeswoman said.
By keeping dogs on a lead and following dog access requirements while walking in areas near farmed animals, she said owners avoided the chance their pooch may stress these animals.
The spokeswoman said those who lived near farmed animals should know where their dogs were at all times, make sure their property was secure, and check their dog couldn't escape.
SPCA said under the Dog Control Act 1996, owners of dogs worrying sheep were liable for a fine plus damages caused by the attack.
"In certain circumstances, the Dog Control Act protects the right of farmers to shoot a dog worrying their stock and gives courts the power to order destruction of the dog.
"Following the principles of 'responsible animal ownership' keeps your dog and other animals which share the countryside safe."