New Zealand is a country of farmers. We have about 60 million sheep and 10 million dairy and beef cattle.


Stock found on private property can be reported to your local Council who will advise you of the process to have them removed.

As a landowner/occupier, you must attempt to find the owner of the stock and return the stock directly. If you are unable to do so within 48 hours you can then advise the Council that you want the stock impounded. The Impounding Act 1955 makes you responsible for organising and financing the removal of the stock on your land, however your Council may be able to assist you there.  Animal Control officers will also advise you as to where the stock is to be transported.

All charges for transporting the stock, trespass rates and sustenance fees etc will be the responsibility of the owner of the stock who will be required to reimburse costs before stock are released.

If the owner of stock cannot be traced the stock are auctioned at sale and the proceeds used to reimburse the affected parties.

Please note that Council will not investigate the removal of bulls unless they are loose on the road.


Regional and District Council Animal Control Units throughout New Zealand operate a 24 hour, 7 days a week service and respond to almost anything associated with the control of animals and livestock.

The keeping of animals or stock does not generally create a problem. The majority of owners are responsible and ensure that their animals do not create a nuisance to other people.

In some situations however, the presence of animals can cause issues to others. The nuisance is usually the result of how animals are kept, their behaviour, the conditions or locations in which they are being cared for, or as a direct result of the animal being brought into a public place. The nature of the problem can vary between urban and rural areas.

Curious lamb

WANDERING STOCK (Public Areas and Roads) 

Councils throughout New Zealand are responsible for the removal of stock from public places and roads.  Stock refers to horses, goats, pigs, cows, sheep and a variety of other non-domestic animals. Stock are not permitted to wander, graze, be ridden, lead or herded on any park or reserve without the Council’s consent. This is administered under Council Bylaws.  There is a process to be followed in reporting stock which has wandered depending on where the stock has been found.

Stock wandering loose on any road should be reported to your Council who will advise you on what to do next.


Farmers do not need permission to move stock along the roads, but they must use the most direct route and have one person at the front of the stock and another at the rear of the stock.

Sheep on the road
Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004 SR 2004/427
(5) A person moving untethered animals from place to place along or across a road must exercise due care towards other road users, and must ensure that any disruption to traffic is minimised.
Check your Council bylaws for any particular requirements relating to stock movements in your area.