A GRAPHIC photo of dead sheep beside a pig-hunting dog, posted on Facebook on Monday, has led to swift action by the police and a 22-year-old Orange man charged with animal cruelty offences.
Yesterday police visited a Mullion Creek property and identified the carcasses of several dead sheep found on a nearby road after they were reported missing by a landowner.
Late yesterday afternoon a man was arrested and interviewed at Orange Police Station.
He was charged with six counts of aggravated cruelty upon an animal, seven counts of committing an act of cruelty on an animal, one count of entering enclosed land and five counts of stealing livestock.
The posting of the photograph on the social media site drew an instant response from the public with a barrage of comments condemning the man’s actions. Police launched an investigation to see if the Facebook posting and the landowner’s complaint were linked.
The Facebook photograph of two men with three dead sheep laid out beside a hunting dog was taken at night in front of a vehicle with the number plate clearly displayed.
Police said yesterday the sheep were identified as being from the property where the owner had reported his sheep missing on Friday night.
Yesterday, police alleged the animals had not been shot, with the carcasses displaying injuries that suggested they had been mauled by a dog and stabbed.
Jo Shearim, part-owner of Bullets n Bits, a hunting supply store in Orange, said the business was inundated with calls from outraged customers on Monday, shortly after the pictures had been posted on Facebook.
“Everyone is disgusted at this,” she said.
“It is this sort of behaviour which gives responsible hunters a bad name.”
An RSPCA spokesman said they had liaised with Orange police over the alleged cruelty incidents throughout the day.
Canobolas Local Area Command Inspector Dave Harvey said police investigations into the case were continuing.
The RSPCA said a charge of aggravated animal cruelty in NSW carried a fine of $22,000 and/or two years imprisonment.
The man has been refused bail by police and will remain in custody until his court appearance.