Police continuing to taser animals

Dozens of animals have been zapped by police since the tasering of an Oamaru goat sparked national outrage.

Figures released under the Official Information Act show 64 animals, mainly dogs, have been tasered by police in the past five years.

Of those, 49 occurred after the tasering of a feral goat more than a dozen times in Oamaru in 2016 which sparked changes to national policy and outrage from animal welfare activists.

The goat, which escaped from a meat processing plant, was tasered after it was cornered in the garage of a residential property.

A Waitaki District Council animal control officer had unsuccessfully tried for an hour to secure the goat after it ran through peak morning traffic on State Highway 1.

A police officer responded, and in trying to incapacitate the animal, tasered it a total of 13 times.

It was later euthanised.

An MPI investigation determined that no charges would be laid.

Police policy was changed to permit police to taser an attacking animal, but not to capture one that was not attacking.

Since that was introduced, there had been one breach. A dog, running loose on a busy road, was evading capture and had already been hit by cars at least twice, police said.

"The police officer in attendance believed the dog was likely to be struck by another vehicle resulting in injury or death. The officer also believed the dog was likely to cause a traffic accident.'"

The dog was tasered, captured, and taken to a nearby vet.

While a breach of policy, the officer’s actions were "well intentioned and prevented harm not only to the animal itself, but also to nearby members of the public'".

Among the other tasered animals was a woolly fugitive.

A ram escaped from its farm and was discovered wandering on a motorway on-ramp in Waitemata last year.

"The ram had sizeable horns and was charging at staff, which presented additional risks to those attempting to capture the animal and to passing drivers,'" police said.

But the capture of the ram did not run smoothly.

An officer fired their taser at the animal, but it did not achieve "neuromuscular incapacitation'" due to the wool.

"The ram subsequently jumped through nearby bushes, continuing to evade those in pursuit.'"

It was finally caught a short time later by animal control officers and police.

The last animal tasered in the South was a dog in 2018.

daisy.hudson@odt.co.nz

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