Dog damage could dwarf drought devastation

Dog damage could dwarf drought devastation


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WILD dog attacks in western NSW have tripled in the past five years, according to LLS biosecurity officer Heidi Mackay.

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WILD dog attacks in western NSW have tripled in the past five years, according to Walgett's North West Local Land Services (LLS) biosecurity officer Heidi Mackay.

Ms Mackay stressed a community approach was needed to slow dog population growth, and was concerned some producers had become complacent.

"The most effective way to control dogs and foxes is 1080 baiting in the spring and autumn when dogs are about and before lambing as their population increases in numbers throughout the year," she said.

"When this method of baiting was used in the Glen Innes area between 2002 and 2005, reports found stock losses had decreased between 65 and 75 per cent."

Despite horrific attacks on sheep in her local area she said some producers still failed to implement long-term control.

Ms Mackay urged farmers to look for signs of wild dogs and report them immediately.

"Bitten stock, howling and wild dog sightings are the most obvious sign, but stock behaving strangely around working dogs and dog foot prints where pet or working dogs haven't been are other indicators to be aware of," she said.

"Dogs can stress stock when present, which can cause a decrease in conception rates as was the case on a property at Goodooga.

"Since a dog was shot on that property stock conception rates have returned."

Landmark Walgett wool account manager Brett Smith said ignoring the dog problem could have dire consequences .

"With the devastation (I have seen) from wild dogs on my family's property in Queensland, it's not a problem North West NSW needs, as it has the potential to put the current drought into insignificance," he said.

"If more landholders don't... actively help in the prevention of (dog) numbers rising, then the North West will go the same way as Queensland in terms of sheep numbers which will have a huge impact on the community."

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