A BIT WOOLLY: Sheep being tackled during last Saturday’s rugby union game between five sheep, five Casino Bulls rugby union players and five Casino Cougars rugby league players.
A BIT WOOLLY: Sheep being tackled during last Saturday’s rugby union game between five sheep, five Casino Bulls rugby union players and five Casino Cougars rugby league players. BILL COUNSELL

RSPCA tackles sheep football

COMPLAINTS to the RSPCA have left Sydney-based animal trainer D'Arcy Martin feeling a bit sheepish.

Mr Martin was involved in one of the highlights of last weekend's Casino Show after he trained five sheep to take on 10 men in a novelty rugby match with two dogs as linesmen.

However, the match is under a rugby 'rev-ewe' by Lismore-based RSPCA officer Alistair Hill.

“It was brought to our attention and we are conducting some inquiries,” Mr Hill said.

“I've spoken with the organisers and we're chasing it up to make sure everything was kosher.

“We have a video of it and we'll watch it and make a determination, but it's too early to say what that would be.”

The RSPCA officer said the investigation would take about a week.

Mr Martin, who has trained animals most of his life, was surprised at the complaint.

“I do shows with ducks, sheep and dogs and I'm very careful ... I've never had a complaint,” he said.

“I came up there 10 days early to train the sheep and the footballers. We taught the footballers to wrap one leg around the sheep so it was underneath so at no stage there was weight on them (the sheep).

“The sheep were well-trained. We brought them to the ground in a float and at the end of the first half I blew a whistle and they raced off to their dressing room (the float). It was hilarious.”

Mr Martin, who has been invited by other show societies to run sheep rugby matches, will supply a video of the event to the RSPCA to clear his name.


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