By Matt Brann and Henry Zwartz
26 September 2020
Workers on a Northern Territory cattle station say they are heartbroken and cannot believe that 30 station horses, which were in a paddock close to the homestead, have been shot dead.
Police are now investigating the shooting on Killarney Station, about a 600-kilometre drive from Darwin.
Alex Laurisson from Killarney Station said the two people who allegedly killed the horses had been allowed to shoot feral animals on the property.
"They were supposed to just shoot a number of feral animals that had been agreed on, prior to them coming," she said.
"[The pair] were told they weren't to shoot within a certain area of the homestead and were also told that we had a lot of horses nearby that were very special to us.
"They were shown specifically where they were allowed to shoot, and the area that they have gone and shot, they had no permission."
Darwin branch president of the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia, Andrew Armstrong, has confirmed the two shooters were members, who were conducting pest control of feral animals in the area.
He said he would not comment any further while the matter was being investigated.
Station staff 'completely heartbroken' at loss of 'mates'
Ms Laurisson said the dead animals included "some of the best horses we have on Killarney", and it was a distressing time for the staff.
"They're completely heartbroken, initially they were just shocked, in disbelief, grief, anger, heartbreak," she said.
"No money is ever going to repay what we've lost.
"Our horses play a massive role in what we do, they're part of our whole identity at Killarney, they're our mates.
"The relationships that we built with the horses that we've lost can never be brought back, they were part of our family".
Ms Laurisson said it was hard to imagine the horses getting mistaken for feral horses.
"Before they got put out in the paddock their manes were cut, tails brushed, they were so fat and shiny because they were looked after so well, they had just had their shoes pulled off and they had gone out to have a rest for the year.
"They probably would have gone walking up to whatever vehicle the shooters were in, they were so quiet."