The RSPCA has taken over the investigation into a case of animal neglect at the Livestock Marketing Centre (LMC) on the weekend.
People working near Wagga’s Livestock Marketing Centre on Saturday noticed a flock of about 100 sheep that were left in a holding pen without shade or water.
It is believed the sheep were purchased on Thursday and left in a yard with water overnight before being moved at about 5.30pm on Friday, as temperatures across the state soared.
One of the animals is believed to have died of heat-related causes before they were given water, food and shelter.
Wagga City Council has handed over all supporting documentation and CCTV footage, according to a statement released on Monday night.
“The City of Wagga Wagga will be taking firm interim action against the owner of a mob of sheep left unattended during extreme heat at the LMC, pending the outcome of an RSPCA investigation,” the statement said.
“(Council) would like to clarify that while the LMC is a council facility, the sheep in question were in the care of their owner.”
According to council, a preliminary investigation has established the sheep were moved from pens within the facility that had tree shade and water available, to a laneway.
“I again would like to thank the community members who raised the alarm,” council general manager Alan Eldridge said.
“I would like to express my sincerest thanks to those residents, and to the quick response by LMC staff and a contractor that ensured that this incident did not result in more deaths.
“The City of Wagga Wagga has a zero-tolerance policy for negative animal welfare outcomes and will continue to liaise with regulatory authorities to assist with ensuring the persons responsible are made accountable.”
The City of Wagga Wagga will not be commenting further until the RSPCA’s investigation is complete.