Chil­dren’s lambs at­tacked

‘Rasp­berry had blood all over him’

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - By KA­T­RINA TANIRAU

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.

al­ways

Sur­vivor: Chocky the lamb re­cov­er­ing at home af­ter hav­ing his throat cut.

mata­mata.ed­i­tor@wrcn.co.nz

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