New Zealand Police Chase Shorn Short by Cop’s Flock

Man on the lamb meets shifty shepherd.

Fairfax Media NZ / Southland Times

In news that could come only from New Zealand and its 5-to-1 sheep-to-human ratio, an enterprising Kiwi cop used his sheep flock to end a car chase. Upon seeing the mewling mass of woolly, crime-stopping beasts, the driver of one thoroughly wretched Acura Integra came to an immediate halt. Neither sheep nor shepherding dogs, who helpfully placed the sheep on the road, were harmed, though we imagine those muttons hearts were beating at quite a patter.

The affair started after the Integra was pulled over near Alexandra for speeding nearly 10 mph over the speed limit and having no license plates. The driver sped away from the stop, and police pursued for well over an hour. Despite the use of several road-spike strips, one of which leaving the Integra with a completely bare front wheel, the driver continued up into the countryside. However, when confronted with well over two hundred prime chops, the dogged driver gave up. One man and three women—a veritable carpool of criminality—were arrested. Their arrest histories were undisclosed, though one imagines a group so dedicated to escape must be dyed-in-the-wool delinquents.

Huge growth in the frozen meat trade between 1882 and 1992, combined with the U.K.’s outsize appetite for wool, meant that for decades, New Zealand’s dominant industry baa’d. The country’s sheep population reached its peak at 70 million in 1982. But with more efficient farming methods, a decrease in government subsidies and the advent of synthetic fibers throughout the Nineties, the islands’ ovine numbers dropped considerably, albeit to a still staggering 40 million. On Jan. 21, several dozen of New Zealand’s cloven heros proved that following the herd can pay dividends in ways one might never expect. These are police, sir, in sheep’s clothing.