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Cattle shooting shock

Shots fired this morning from an Endcliffe Road hillside at a cow about 50 metres away left the animal wounded and in distress, say angry witnesses.

One neighbour, whose father once worked for the SPCA up the coast, said the cow was standing in a hole in the paddock when a man shot it from a distance. The hole is about 20 metres from the neighbour’s house.

The shooter left the wounded animal where it was and walked up an adjacent slope to join another man.

“The cow was eating out of the hole when they shot it but it didn’t die,” said the neighbour.

“It tried to get up when it had bullets in it. That cow was still bloody alive and they walked away and shot other cows.”

Another neighbour, who had experience on a dairy farm, said the shooter had been standing too far away when he shot the first animal.

“They came down and saw it was still alive then went to shoot another cow. The first one was struggling — dropping, standing and dropping for about 10 minutes.

“Then they shot another cow from 40 to 50 metres away. The whole thing was a disgrace.”

The men then reversed their car down to the wounded animal, tied a rope around its leg and dragged it behind a vehicle up the slope, said the neighbour.

The cow was still alive, he said.

“That was terrible, mate. That was shocking.

“They didn’t slit its throat on the spot. That’s disgraceful.”

The neighbour said they were the worst killings he had seen. The cows had been shot from too far away.

“You only do one cow at a time. You shoot it and cut its throat.”

The first neighbour said the wounded animal was the most terrible thing she had seen.

I thought ‘you’ve got a gun, why don’t you kill it?’ I hope to God I never see anything like that again.”

There had been no prior notification either, she said.

Police and Gisborne District Council animal control staff attended the scene after they were notified about “two persons using what appeared to be rifles shooting cattle”.

Police responded shortly before 10am and called animal control for assistance.

“We understand the people involved had permission from the owner of the cattle, however police were called when gunshots were heard,” a police spokesman said.

“On arrival, it was found that one of the cows was still alive. To ensure it did not suffer, police made the decision to put the animal down rather than wait for animal control.?”

Animal control officer Wayne Kerr said he was called to the site by police but the cattle beasts were already dead.

“I didn’t have to do anything. I got there and all three cattle were down on the ground and bleeding out.”

The cattle had been shot in the head.

“They were already dead. I just got out and had a quick talk to the police. He was happy they were down and he asked what I thought.

“I had a look at them and I thought they had been done humanely. If there was any fault it’s that they didn’t contact the police or anyone and let the neighbours know what they were doing.”