A feral horned goat had to be euthanised after it was Tasered by a police officer 13 times.
Police have today been forced to release footage of the 2016 incident by the Ombudsman.
The incident has also resulted in changes to the police Taser policy.
In a statement this afternoon, police described the incident as “an exceptionally rare if not unprecedented situation requiring Police to undertake highly improvised measures in efforts to manage a distressed goat (with horns) in a confined space within a garage”.
The officer, Senior Constable Carl Pederson, tried to restrain and remove the feral horned goat from an Oamaru property.
He discharged his Taser 13 times before the goat was subsequently put down by a vet who attended the scene.
Pederson had been called to a garage near Thames Highway, SH1, after reports of the goat running on the highway and causing traffic disruptions.
The goat was found a short time later after in a garage between Exe and Nen Sts being held at bay by a small dog.
The officer considered using a firearm given the ongoing risk to the public should the goat escape.
But he favoured a lesser use of force, and did not want to kill the goat, police said.
The officer was also concerned about the use of a firearm in a confined area in a suburban street.
Before that the officer had entered the garage and attempted to use a harness to secure the goat.
His attempts were unsuccessful so Pederson opted to use his Taser in a bid to incapacitate the animal.
“The goat initially fell to the floor on the first Taser discharge and the officer went forward to secure it with the harness.
“However the animal recovered almost immediately, increasing the risk to the officer.”
Several investigations had been conducted into this incident, including an
independent investigation by the Ministry for Primary Industries under the
Animal Welfare Act 1999.
An MPI investigation determined that no charges would be laid.
The Independent Police Conduct Authority also reviewed the police investigation, and was satisfied that “Police have investigated this matter appropriately and reached reasonable conclusions”.
In a statement today, Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier said during his investigation he carefully reviewed the original arguments made by police to withhold the footage for fear it was too graphic.
“This footage was subsequently published by TVNZ – this disclosure and subsequent publication by the media of video footage of animals being Tasered did not result in any harm which, in essence, amounted to prejudice to measures protecting the public‘s health and safety.”
“Consequently, it is difficult for me to see how withholding the video footage is necessary or justified under the Official Information Act.”
The police Taser policy now included: “A Taser can be used to deter an attacking animal, but not to capture an animal that is otherwise not attacking.”
Pedersen said in 2016 he had used his Taser on the animal because it was “stressed” and “uncooperative”.
The goat, with its large horns, had damaged the garage and there were concerns it would escape back on to State Highway 1 and endanger the safety of motorists, as it had earlier in the day.
Waitaki District Council regulatory services manager Lichelle Guyan said the council had been alerted to a “large, rogue goat” running around Highfield Mews Hotel near State Highway 1 earlier in the day.
When animal control officers approached the goat it bolted across the highway in front of vehicles, she said.
The goat managed to evade animal control officers, bounding over several fences, before they lost sight of it.
Ombudsman points from Police, Practice and Procedure Review following the incident
– The event involved a feral goat at large creating significant safety risks to motorists and
– Police attending the event at the request of the local animal control
the officer who did not have the capacity of capability to effectively manage the
– An exceptionally rare if not unprecedented situation requiring Police to
undertake highly improvised measures in efforts to manage a distressed goat
(with horns) in a confined space within a garage.
– The police officer acted in good faith and his actions did not constitute
a breach of the police Code of Conduct.
– Sound aspects of decision making included: Recognising the limited realistic options available to one person contending with a distressed goat with horns potentially capable of inflicting serious injury.
– By virtue of the Police Oath of Office and obligations to keep the peace
means ‘doing nothing‘ is not an option available, and therefore requiring
police to act.
– Regardless of the investigative outcomes police have taken the opportunity to
look at this incident from a ‘lessons learnt‘ perspective.
– Internal investigations recommended the need to update Taser policy to clarify the
approach and expectations in relation to the use of Taser on animals.
Taser policy now includes:
– A TASER can be used to deter an attacking animal, but not to capture
an animal that is otherwise not attacking.