No charges for officer who repeatedly tasered goat

The escaped goat that was tasered by police in 2016. Photo: Stephen Carter
The escaped goat that was tasered by police in 2016. Photo: Stephen Carter
An Oamaru police officer who tasered an out-of-control goat 13 times will not face charges under the Animal Welfare Act.

Eighteen months after the incident and subsequent investigation, documentation provided to the Otago Daily Times by the Ministry of Primary Industries has shed more light on the circumstances surrounding Senior Constable Carl Pedersen's decision to taser the animal and the decision not to prosecute him.

On December 1, 2016, Snr Const Pedersen was called to an Oamaru address after a goat that had escaped from an abattoir two days earlier had been cornered in a garage by the resident's dog.

After consideration by Snr Const Pedersen and an animal control officer, it was decided that the former would enter the garage, taser the goat and attempt to tether it so it could be removed from the property.

Snr Const Pedersen discharged his Taser 13 times when confronting the goat, the documents said.

The animal was then tethered, but ''due to the distress caused to the animal'' a veterinarian was called to the address to sedate it.

However, the animal control officer did not have a safe place to enclose the goat and asked the veterinarian to euthanise it.

On December 2, Snr Const Pedersen told the Otago Daily Times his decision to use the Taser might have been considered ''a bit drastic'', but given the circumstances felt it was the best decision for all concerned.

''I considered myself at risk. It needed to be controlled ... it wasn't in the mood to be subdued.''

The ministry began its investigation into the incident, which cost more than $25,000, on February 7, 2017.

The documents said investigators ''were hampered at some stages of their investigation'', partly by Snr Const Pedersen being ''reluctant to be interviewed'' and taking ''some time'' to agree to answering written questions about the incident.

The investigation concluded on July 21.

In August, the file was sent to an in-house lawyer to determine if charges of ill-treatment or reckless ill-treatment should be laid under the Act.

As the case ''involved an unprecedented and novel set of facts'' advice was sought from the Crown Solicitor's office before the case was referred to it on November 24.

Final advice was provided to the ministry last month.

On April 26 it was decided the case would not proceed based on ''evidential weaknesses'' in the case, as a goat could be considered a ''wild animal'' under the Act, therefore Snr Const Pedersen's actions did not breach it.

daniel.birchfield@odt.co.nz


 

Comments

This is disgusting ill treatment of a animal and a prosecution should have been sought !
Section 30A of the Animal Welfare Act
Wilful or reckless ill-treatment of wild animals or animals in wild state
(1)
A person commits an offence if the person wilfully ill-treats a wild animal or an animal in a wild state.

drivesouth-pow-generic-1.png

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter