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One bullet killed two animals in an incident that has potentially cost a West Otago farmer more than $8500, police say.
A shorthorn steer cow, carrying a bull calf, was found shot dead on a roadside near Heriot earlier this month.
Constable John Mawhinney, of Tapanui, said the cow, impregnated with valuable imported semen, was worth about $2500 but its unborn calf had a potential market value of about $6000.
The cow had been shot in the stomach, killing the unborn calf instantly, but he believed the cow probably survived for a time and may have been wandering along the roadside before eventually dying.
Police believe they know who is responsible but are appealing for information from the public.
It is understood the incident is part of a long-running dispute between the farmer and another man.