Push on to stop stock wandering

Driver beware . . . Wandering stock is an issue on Southland Roads. PHOTO: THE ENSIGN FILES

Police are called to deal with wandering stock nearly every day in the South.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is leading a campaign to reduce the number of instances when animals get out of paddocks and on to roads, sometimes causing serious harm to people.

Gore man David Harrington was driving in Dacre, near Invercargill, two years ago when he came around a corner and was saw a cow standing in front of him. Conditions were poor with rain and low visibility. He was not driving fast.

‘‘All of a sudden there was a cattle beast on the road and I did not realise it was there,’’ he said.

The cow went on to the bonnet, then the windscreen and smacked into Mr Harrington’s jaw, breaking it in seven places.

That led to him spending more than seven weeks in intensive care in Dunedin Hospital.

He said he would not be alive if it were not for the Edendale Fire Brigade and nearby Fonterra staff.

‘‘Two years since the accident there has been a lot of adjustment.

‘‘I have been very lucky that I have a million-dollar wife [Kerry]. She has been fantastic. But I have still got a way to go yet.

‘‘I have got to be patient, with my memory. I’m introduced to people now that I have known for years but they do not register with me and who they are.’’

The 63-year-old said parts of his memory were really good but other parts, including his short-term memory, were poor at times.

NZTA and Federated Farmers said when fences bordering roads were replaced they should be at least 2.5m tall as that would keep animals contained. All animal fences should look like deer fences.

Senior Constable Simon Ballantyne said wandering stock was a real issue. Southern police were called out to 340 incidents about wandering stock in the past year and every one of those had the potential for real injury.

He said if stock were on the road then people should contact emergency services as soon as possible.

Mr Harrington urged rural people to check their fences and keep an eye on stock. He thought of the dangers for young children and young farm workers when he was driving around the area.

All of a sudden there was a cattle beast on the road and I did not realise it was there.