WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE
Cattle producer Tom Amey has had a gutful of wild dog attacks on his Mummulgum property near Casino. He never has twins calves because the dogs take the unattended one and he lost a pet Jack Russell in his home garden.
And the renter on a house on his place, “Araucaria”, was attacked herself with scratches and bites across her back as she tried to protect her fox terriers.
Wild dogs have killed nine of her fox terriers in the last year, one her pride and joy she raised on eye drops from a pup. If she hadn’t have been wearing a loose shirt during the attack by the wild dogs she would have been severely injured.
Now one of the suspected perpetrators has bitten the dust. At about 6am this morning (Thursday), Tom was having breakfast at his homestead when he spotted a wild dog out the window roaming in his Mummulgum property.
He gathered his rifle and went out in his pyjamas, took aim and lowered the pest dog. It was a male dog and three of the marauder’s pups were shot last week.
“The dog is the one that killed our little Jack Russell female in our house garden last year,” Mr Amey said.
“My worker shot 3 of his 5 months old pups last week.”
It was different doing his own wild dog control. Often he gets in trappers and shooters, paying them up to $100 a scalp for a wild dog.
And it’s not just the loss of small calves he is upset about. The wild dogs have a parasite in their faeces and when they drop on the paddock, the grazing cattle will digest the neospora caninum parasite. If a cow is pregnant she will abort by three to four months after a cyst grows on the calf’s brain. Mr Amey reckons there is about a 10 per cent abortion rate among cattle on the North Coast because of neospora.
The woman hurt by wild dogs on his property was lucky she didn’t get more severe injuries, he said. She was already traumatised by losing an arm in a workplace accident and her fox terriers were her pride and joy. “They were jumping up and biting her,” Mr Amey said.
Mr Amey says the wild dog problem is only getting worse, despite three or four baiting programs on his property a year and in his area. “They are everywhere,” he says. Mr Amey is on a local wild dog control committee. He can’t understand why he has to pay for controls, when it should be a government problem.
“We never have any twins (calf) on the property. The wild dogs will take the unattended one.” He estimates he loses five calves a year.
He also says wild dog attacks were severely under-reported. The Land revealed yesterday that 3870 head of livestock were lost to wild dog attacks in the last two years in the New England area. The DPI is doing a survey this month of northern landowners to see what extra management controls are need to take control of the “significant” problem.