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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Use of Taser on a wild goat

18 July 2018

On 1 December 2016 Police received a call from an Animal Control Officer requesting assistance as a large goat was running on a highway in front of traffic. Police then received a call from a member of the public reporting that the goat was now in her garage.

A Police officer and the Animal Control Officer arrived at the property and discussed how to capture the goat. It was decided that the Police officer would enter the garage and attempt to catch the goat using a rope. This was unsuccessful and the distressed goat tried to break through a garage window. The Police officer then drew their Taser and attempted to incapacitate the goat so that they could safely restrain it. The first discharge of the Taser was unsuccessful as only one of the two probes connected with the goat. The second discharge was successful and the goat was incapacitated while the electrical charge was activated; however once this had ceased, the goat immediately got back to its feet. The Police officer completed a total of 12 cycles of the electrical charge before successfully restraining the goat with the rope and removing it from the garage.

A vet attended the scene to sedate the goat; however after a discussion with the Animal Control Officer, the goat was euthanised.

Police notified the IPCA of the incident. Police conducted an employment investigation into the Police officer’s actions and this was overseen and reviewed by the IPCA at its conclusion. The Police investigation determined that the Police officer’s actions, in facing an unusual situation with somewhat limited options, were reasonable and necessary and were undertaken in good faith. Police did, however, identify that better options may have been for the officer to have called for back-up or formed a plan to get another officer to assist with restraining the goat.

As a result of this incident Police have formulated clearer policy regarding the use of Taser on animals and have committed to updating related training.

The IPCA agreed with the outcome of the Police investigation.

In May 2018 the IPCA was notified that the Ministry for Primary Industries had determined that no prosecution would be commenced against the Police officer in relation to the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

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