FOUR men and one teenager have been charged with a string of offences following an alleged case of stock theft and aggravated cruelty.
NSW Police rural crime officers said in the early hours of Monday, January 7 officers from Cootamundra stopped a vehicle on Temora Road at Cootamundra.
“There were five males in the vehicle and the officers sighted two ewe lambs in the tray of the utility with their legs bound with baling twine,” State Rural Crime Co-ordinator Detective Inspector Cameron Whiteside said.
“The sheep had injuries to their ears and the injuries appeared recent.
“There was a large amount of blood on their head, upper body and in the tray of the utility.
“The sheep were clearly in distress.”
Det Insp Whiteside said the sheep were not secure in the tray and there was nothing preventing them from being ejected from the vehicle.
“The cuts to the ears were consistent with the ear-tags being removed with force,” he said.
“An occupant [in the vehicle] outlined that they got the sheep from a ‘mate’s house’.”
Det Insp Whiteside said a search of the vehicle resulted in the seizure of 50 rounds of .22 ammunition and a knife with blood on the blade.
Police also seized the two sheep and provided them with feed and water.
Rural Crime Investigators from Cootamundra identified the owner of the sheep and they have been return.
“Since the incident, members of the Rural Crime Prevention Team have charged the five males, with the last male being arrested and charged this morning [Tuesday],” Det Insp Whiteside said.
Those males consist of a 17, 20, 22 and 24-year-old from Cootamundra, and a 21-year-old man from Stockinbingal.
“They are facing various charges between them of: steal stock; commit an act of cruelty upon an animal; biosecurity offences – failing to comply with mandatory measures; and the possession of ammunition without a licence,” Det Insp Whiteside said.
All five were granted strict conditional bail to appear at the Cootamundra Local Court next month.
Det Insp Whiteside has urged anyone with information about stock theft or other rural crimes to contact their local police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.