Meeting on sheep deaths

''A lot of rumour and angst'' in the Ngapara community over the death of more than 200 sheep last year has led Oamaru police to call a public meeting to answer their questions.

The meeting, to be held on May 21 at the Ngapara Rugby Clubrooms from 7pm, is to tell the community and general public about the police investigation into and findings on the deaths of the sheep in June last year.

Initially, police thought the sheep on two separate but close farms had been shot, which raised fears in the community about a person or people in the area at night shooting stock.

After an extensive investigation, which included forensic tests done by a veterinarian, followed by further forensic and DNA tests in Australia, police announced last month the extensive tests had found the sheep were attacked by dogs, but there was insufficient evidence to prosecute anyone.

The investigation was unusual because of the number of sheep attacked and the type of injuries they had.

''It was a difficult case to unravel, because of the severe and unusual injuries that were sustained by most of the sheep during the attacks,'' police said.

The killings caused a high level of anxiety in the Ngapara community and surrounding areas. Since the announcements, there had also been rumours about the killings, including questions over whether dogs were involved or whether the sheep were shot.

Senior Sergeant Jason McCoy said yesterday there was a large amount of misinformation circulating.

''Police feel it is important the community has an understanding of what has happened and how police have come to their findings,'' he said.

Snr Sergeant McCoy, officer in charge of the investigation Detective Warren Duncan and possibly other staff will be at the meeting.

david.bruce@odt.co.nz

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