Wandering stock more prevalent on southern roads

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
Farm animals after greener pastures are a significant danger on southern roads.

Data from the New Zealand police show the Southern policing district officers, along with Canterbury, received more calls relating to livestock wandering on roads than any other region in the country.

Police Southern District road policing manager Inspector Craig Brown said wandering stock were a crash hazard.

"Motorists may not be able to avoid animals, or may take evasive action to avoid animals which has the potential to lead to a crash.

"Both serious injury to persons and serious damage to vehicles can be caused if an animal is struck and the animals may be killed or seriously injured.

"If seriously injured, then the animals may need to be put down."

In the Southern District, which includes both Otago and Southland, police attended 811 livestock related callouts in the year to March.

Nationally, this is second only to Canterbury police, who received 883 callouts during the same period.

Not all callouts were responded to.

"Events will be cancelled for a number of reasons, including the stock managing to get back into the paddock or other authorities such as the council attending," Insp Brown said.

Their attendance depended on the location and circumstances.

"Generally if stock are located our staff will attempt to get the animal back to where it came from — if that can be ascertained.

"Sometimes local knowledge of staff is utilised to contact the landowner or farmer — the key priority is always to remove the stock from the road."

Insp Brown said in a situation where the animal posed a danger to the public, such as running loose on a busy road or highway, then police should be called.

"If this isn’t the case then the local council should be contacted in the first instance."

A New Zealand Transport Agency Waka Kotahi spokeswoman said animals at times would escape or wriggle under fences to get to the best grass for grazing.

"People should be cautious of large beasts and male farm animals in particular and should take a second to assess the situation before approaching."