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Anglers from Allanton say all cattle, not just dairy cows, should be kept out of the Taieri River, but a council ruling says all livestock can access the waterway.
Allanton resident Peter Cochrane (60) said beef cattle were pugging the river bank and polluting the waterway with effluent, but they were not included in Otago Regional Council (ORC) rulings.
An Allanton farmer had put 20 beef cattle in a paddock so they could access the Taieri River from November to February, he said.
However, when he called the ORC about the beasts in the river, he was told beef cattle were allowed in the river but dairy cattle were not, he said.
Allanton resident Mike McMillan (50) said he also called the council about the ongoing issue of beef cattle ''fouling'' the Taieri River.
He had called the regional council about beef cattle in the river before but was told that because the cattle were not dairy cows, there was no issue.
''But surely they both make a mess ... they said because it's beef cattle, and not dairy, that it's not a problem and they [ORC] can do nothing about it,'' Mr McMillan said.
ORC regional services director Jeff Donaldson said all cattle were treated the same under council rulings and all livestock could access the waterway.
''But they can't cause pugging or damage.''
ORC compliance manager Martin King said livestock drinking from the river was a permitted activity.
''But if you're putting all those stock into a small isolated area beside a river bank, the odds of you creating an offence, which is the pugging and erosion to the banks of a river, are high.''
A council staff member would go to Allanton and look for hoof marks and erosion of the river banks in response to the two complaints the council had received this week, he said.