Forensic tests key in sheep death inquiry

Forensic results from Australia could determine the direction of Oamaru police investigations into the death of 218 sheep on two North Otago farms in June.

It was initially believed the sheep, worth about $45,000, were shot, but police were never 100% convinced and were having further forensic tests carried out.

Yesterday, Detective Warren Duncan said initial tests were done by a forensic veterinarian.

From those results, it was decided further forensic tests would be carried out to get definitive answers.

They were being done in Australia and could point police down another path of investigation or a more positive outcome.

Det Duncan would not say what those tests involved because he claimed it could compromise future investigations.

He emphasised police had not downgraded the investigation, but needed the forensic results to progress further.

Information from the public was still welcome.

The investigation started when 195 sheep were believed shot on Peter and Janine Stackhouse's farm at Ngapara on the weekend of June 21-22.

The next weekend, 23 stud rams and in-lamb ewe hoggets were shot on John and Wendy Dodd's Tapui property.

david.bruce@odt.co.nz

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