Havoc as 'cavorting' sheep tranquilised next to highway

IT wasn't the Easter bunny causing traffic problems on the Pacific Highway on Easter Sunday morning, but two wayward sheep.

The sheep had been "cavorting" close to the highway between Ballina and Wardell for a few days according to Richmond LAC Inspector Susie Johnston.

Police managed to contain the sheep, but even with the help of council rangers, couldn't capture them without running the risk they would get onto the highway, a potentially dangerous situation.

The decision was made to call in RSPCA inspector Alistair Hills who, equipped with a dart gun was able to give a shot of a tranquilliser to the sheep.

The highway needed to be closed in both directions for a short time, requiring as many as four police vehicles including the NSW Highway Patrol, he said.

"They were causing havoc there for a while," Mr Hills said. "But both sheep were successfully sedated and removed by council to awake in a safely fenced paddock."

Yesterday council ranger Gary Connors was putting up posters in the area near the highway to alert people that farm stock had been taken in by the council.

"No one has any real idea where the sheep came from, no one in the area is known for having sheep," he said.

"It is a bit of a mystery," Mr Connors said.

One theory is that they fell off the back of a truck, but they seemed to be free of cuts or abrasions

"We are tossing around all kinds of theories," he said.

If the owners of the sheep do not come forward, one possibility is to look for some else who might like to take them.

The sheep have recovered from the tranquiliser and have since been "bouncing around", Mr Connors said.

Considering the potential danger to motorists, the council, police and RSPCA worked well together, to contain the situation, he said.

If you have any information on two lost sheep, who are clearly looking to broaden their horizons, phone Ballina Shire Council on 6686 1210.