Ram Kills New Zealand Couple

'Never trust a hand-reared ram,' neighbor says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2024 4:27 AM CDT
Ram Kills New Zealand Couple
Experts say rams, like the one in this stock photo, can be very aggressive, especially during breeding season.   (Getty Images/dbstockphoto)

An elderly couple in New Zealand were killed by a rogue ram, authorities say. Family spokesman Dean Burrell, a police officer, says Alfred Helge Hansen, 82, and Gaye Carole Hansen, 81, were found dead in a paddock at their home in a rural area outside Auckland, the New Zealand Herald reports. They were found by a relative who went to check on them Thursday morning, reports Stuff. Police said the ram confronted them at the scene and it was shot after it injured another person.

Burrell says the victims were his mother's sister and her husband. He says the retired couple were hobby farmers who had lived at the property for around eight years. "They had some sheep, some chickens, and some cattle I believe," he says. According to Stuff, the husband went out to feed the ram and didn't return, and his wife was killed after she went to look for him. "They are nice people and didn't deserve this," Burrell says. "Everyone's in shock as to what's happened. They're very upset."

Neighbors tell the Herald that the couple were "lovely, genuine people enjoying their retirement" and they could often be seen tending to their sheep. One neighbor says hand-reared rams can be aggressive and unpredictable. "Never have one, people need to know," she says. "Never trust a hand-reared ram." According to Ohio State University's Sheep Team, hand-reared rams "may seem more docile and friendlier, but in fact they are the most dangerous since they have no fear of the shepherd." (More New Zealand stories.)

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