A spokeswoman for the RSPCA confirmed Armidale Regional Council had contacted them in response to the death of cattle on council owned land during the New Year period.
Council said it requested RSPCA assistance to review its animal management practices, but the spokeswoman was unwilling to make any further comment about the incident until its officers completed their investigation into the matter.
Armidale Regional Council CEO Susan Law said council had immediatly attended the site when was alerted to a dead steer along the property boundary by an adjoining neighbour on Sunday, January 6. Further inspection of the herd revealed more animals in distress and a dry water trough with its tap turned off.
Unfortunately there is a possibility that someone may have tampered with the tap.Susan Law
Mrs Law said council contacted its vet as soon as possible, on Monday, January 7. Council staff were onsite daily managing the distressed cattle and slowly rehydrating them. Unfortunately a number of steers had to be euthanased; decisions not taken lightly and made in the best interest of the animal.
“This incident has been very distressing for all of us at council, and in particular those staff involved in the management of the herd as well as to members of the community,” said Mrs Law.
“Council has managed large cattle herds at our Waste Water Treatment Plant and Reuse Farm, as well as on land owned by Council for many years without incident. Our staff are extremely competent in cattle management and take animal welfare extremely seriously.
“In discussing the death of the cattle with the RSPCA we were left confident that council did everything it could in managing the welfare of the sick and dying cattle."
Mrs Law said it was important that council now do everything to ensure that this did not happen again.
"Council staff have now secured the tap on the trough system to ensure that the tap cannot be turned off,” she said.
Mrs Law said police were investigating the incident and council was being assisted by a veterinarian assessing the cause of death of the animals.