Children’s lambs attacked
‘Raspberry had blood all over him’
The Nicholls children were excited about entering their pet lambs in Hinuera School’s agricultural day for the first time this year.
But that excitement turned to sadness when two of the lambs were victims of an attack by a person who is now been sought by Matamata police.
The attack took place some time during the night of Thursday September 12.
On the night of the attack, Jamie and Karen Nicholls had noticed the lambs were a bit noiser than usual.
There was a party taking place at the house next door to their Matamata property and Mrs Nicholls said it was normal for the lambs to react to an increased level of noise.
‘‘We really didn’t think anything of it,’’ she said.
It wasn’t until the morning, when the children went out to feed the lambs that they realised something was very wrong.
‘‘Our kids came running in saying Raspberry had blood all over him,’’ she said.
‘‘He [Raspberry] looked like he had been cut. We thought a dog might have got into their enclosure, but the vet confirmed that the lambs had been attacked by a person.’’
Raspberry the lamb was stabbed half a dozen times, his right thigh bone was broken and the skin around his mouth was ripped from the bone.
He was so severely injured, he had to be put down.
The other lamb, Chocky, had his throat cut but was stitched up in time to be saved.
Matamata Veterinary Services veterinarian Chris Hutchings saw the lambs and said it was obvious that the injuries sustained were not from a dog attack.
‘‘Dogs tend to tear and rip. It was very clear that the lambs were stabbed and cut with a sharp object,’’ he said. In a career spanning more than 30 years he had never seen this type of cruelty inflicted on an animal.
‘‘I’ve seen a few dog attacks in my time, but nothing like this. To think that a person is responsible is concerning,’’ he said.
‘‘This is a horrendous and sad act. They were kids’ pets.’’
Matamata police condemned the actions of the person or people responsible for the attacks.
Sergeant Graham McGurk said he was shocked by what he had witnessed.
‘‘This is callous and disgusting and the culprits need to be caught,’’ he said.
‘‘This sort of behaviour starts with harming animals but can lead to other dangerous behavioural patterns.’’
It is not unusual to see lambs running around in yards in a rural town like Matamata and Mrs Nicholls said she wanted to see it stay that way.
‘‘This was a cruel and random attack. It’s not what we’re about in the Matamata community,’’ she said.
‘‘ Our kids were so upset. We’ve taught them to be kind to animals.
‘‘It makes me worry about what the person responsible for doing this might go on to do next.’’
Mrs Nicholls and her husband decided to move their young family to Matamata because of the lifestyle. They moved from Auckland five years ago. ‘‘It doesn’t change how way we feel about living in Matamata.’’
Mr McGurk said they were following a line of inquiry.
Survivor: Chocky the lamb recovering at home after having his throat cut.