Sunday, October 12, 2008

Police Taser sheep blocking traffic

By staff writers

POLICE zapped a runaway sheep that was blocking traffic with a Taser stun gun, a weapon issued for use in violent situations.

Motorists trapped in the traffic jam caused when the sheep got out of a field in north Wales in Britain were horrified to see the sheep stunned by police then carried to the side of the road where it continued to convulse, the Daily Mail reported.

They and animal welfare advocates say police did not have to use the weapon on a defenceless sheep.

But officers said they had to prevent the ram "causing major disruption and possible danger to motorists" on the A55, the Mail reported.

Motorist Mark Faulkes said his 13-year-old daughter Amy was distressed after seeing the sheep Tasered.

"We came across a traffic jam and we saw there was a sheep in the road. Everyone had stopped their cars and a few people had got out and were trying to herd the sheep away from the carriageway.

"The police then arrived and they went towards the sheep but it moved away from them. Then one of the officers got out his Taser gun and fired it at the sheep. Then he carried it to the side of the carriageway.

"Amy was very distressed. I don't know if the sheep was all right. When we left it was lying by the side of the road, shaking.

"I thought it was excessive to use a Taser on a defenceless sheep," he said.

A north Wales police spokeswoman said Sparky, as the sheep was nicknamed by locals afterwards, was unhurt.

The RSPCA said it would investigate the incident, which happened last Wednesday.

Home Office Minister Tony McNulty eased restrictions on the use of stun guns last year, saying they could be used "where officers are facing violence or threats of violence of such severity that they would need to use force to protect the public, themselves and or the subjects of their action".

Original here