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New Zealand police hunt doomed deer fleeing abattoir

Deer stand alert on a farm near Bluff, New Zealand, on 14 September 2011. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The public have been told to call police if they spot the deer (not pictured)

Police in the New Zealand town of Mosgiel are hunting for a dozen deer which are on the run after escaping from a local abattoir.

Alarmed residents have reported spotting the animals in their backyards, roads and railway tracks.

The deer were among a mob of 16 which ran out of Otago Venison's compound early on Monday morning.

Police said abattoir staff caught four immediately, while the rest split up and hoofed it.

Senior Sgt Craig Binnissen of the Southern District's police headquarters told the BBC that the dozen farm-bred deer have been "running around town and into people's backyards".

"Obviously they were not obeying road rules," he said.

No injuries or damage to property have been reported so far in the town, which has a population of about 12,000.

Police believe six deer have fled into a nearby forest, and suspect the others are heading towards a nearby deer farm. "They could be just following their instincts," said Snr Sgt Binnissen.

The public has been advised to keep an eye on the deer if they spot them, and ring the police immediately.

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