Landowners urged to secure fences to stop stock wandering on roads

Landowners urged to secure fences to stop stock wandering on roads

Northland

Police and local authorities are urging landowners to ensure their fences are secure after a number of complaints about wandering stock. In March the Far North District Council received 53 complaints and in April to date 32 complaints have been logged. In April, so far, the police have received 60 complaints of wandering stock and three vehicle crashes occurred after the vehicles hit animals on the road. In the last 12 months the FNDC received 462 complaints about wandering stock on council roads (not state highways). FNDC Communications Officer Rick McCall says one of the main causes for stock getting onto the roads is inadequate fencing. "The council has been working with property owners and there has been a noticeable improvement in the standard of roadside fencing over the last 12 months." Mr McCall says the council also acknowledges that a number of reports regarding wandering stock are a result of circumstances beyond the landowners' control, such as vehicle crashes and acts of vandalism. However the recent upsurge in complaints could be due to the drought in Northland. "Hungry and thirsty stock have no respect for fences and some landowners are grazing the 'long acre' because of feed shortages." Mr McCall says the council would like to see the co-operation it has been getting from the landowners, in the last year, continue and for landowners to be extra vigilant, around stock management and supervision, during the drought. The Whangärei District Council has noticed a significant reduction in the number of wandering stock complaints since it adopted a hard-line policy to destroy wandering stock. When on-going problems in Mokau, Waikaraka and at State Highway One near Oakleigh are excluded, the number of wandering stock complaints has fallen from around 30-40 a month to 5-8 calls a month. Council currently destroys about one cattle beast a month, although several animals were destroyed one evening in Waikaraka this summer. “Sad though it is, we have decided it is better to destroy stock that is left to wander on the road than to risk the lives of people in vehicles,” says council’s Group Manager Environment Services Paul Dell. Northland Police Road Policing Manager Inspector Clifford Paxton is urging landowners to check their roadside fences regularly, particularly in light of the recent spate of complaints about stock wandering on to the road. "Wandering stock pose a danger for road users, particularly at night when animals are hard to see. "If a vehicle hits a large animal at speed it could end in tragedy." Mr Paxton says that people should call 111 if they see animals wandering loose that may be danger to traffic. For further information contact Northland Police Communications Officer Sarah Kennett on 09 430 4525 or 027 494 1214