Police tasered fewer animals last year but diversified
from just dogs to include a pig and a goat.
Figures released under the Official Information Act revealed
police in New Zealand tasered 12 animals last year, compared
with 16 in 2012.
In total, 51 animals have been tasered since 2006, when the
Taser trial began: 49 dogs, a pig and a goat.
Police national operations manager Superintendent Barry
Taylor said, in most instances, the dogs tasered were
attacking members of the public or police officers.
A feral goat was tasered last year because the animal control
unit of a Waikato city council wanted it captured alive. A
pig was tasered last year to remove it from a Canterbury
motorway, Supt Taylor said.
Police had tasered animals from 10 of the 12 police
districts, the exceptions being the Tasman and Southern
Senior Sergeant Brian Benn, of Dunedin, said tasering an
animal would be a ''last resort'' for police.
Snr Sgt Benn was involved in the pursuit of a runaway calf on
Dunedin's Southern Motorway last month that involved six
Police cornered the beast at the rear of a block of flats in
Abbotsford Rd, catching it and returning it to its owner.
Officers never considered tasering the calf, he said.
''Because what do you do next? You might knock it off its
feet for 10 seconds but it's going to get up angry.''
Save Animals From Exploitation executive director Hans Kriek
said he was surprised police would taser a pig, but stunning
an animal was preferable to shooting it.
In the past, police shot animals such as cattle beasts.
''Some of these animals were shot many, many times before
they finally died and that is not good.''
He understood if police discharged a Taser in the ''heat of
the moment'' but he disapproved of police hunting an animal
to taser it after an incident.
Massey University professor of veterinary neurophysiology
Craig Johnson said if the goat had not posed a danger to
anybody it should have been sedated by a vet rather than
tasered by police.
However, an animal is generally subdued 15 minutes after
sedation so if it posed an immediate danger then sedation
would be unsuitable.
There were too many variables to determine how tasering
affected animals, Prof Johnson said.
''Tasers are made to be shot into human torsos to deliver a
current into the human which is fairly safe, yet
debilitating. I don't know how that would scale down to
animals smaller than humans.''
The numbers: Animals tasered by police.
• Southern ... 0
• Canterbury ... 3 dogs, 1 pig
• Tasman ... 0
• Wellington ... 4 dogs
• Northland ... 1 dog
• Central ... 1 dog
• Eastern ... 3 dogs
• Bay of Plenty ... 13 dogs
• Waikato ... 2 dogs, 1 goat
• Counties-Manukau ... 10 dogs
• Auckland City ... 3 dogs
• Waitemata ... 6 dogs
• Trial period ... 3 dogs
• Total ... 51 animals
• Taser trial between September 2006 and August 2007 and
between March 2009 and March 2010 ... 3 dogs
• 2010 ... 8 dogs
• 2011 ... 12 dogs
• 2012 ... 16 dogs
• 2013 ... 10 dogs, 1 pig, 1 goat