Ben Strong sees a lot on his rounds as Wanaaring’s postman but rarely does he come across such a confronting scene of the seriousness of the wild dog problem.
The bodies of dogs hang on trees over 100 metres, dozens of them, trapped as they wandered properties in northern NSW looking to attack stock.
And this happens with a 600km dog fence in place. Farmers can only wonder what would happen if there was no dog fence at all on the South Australian and Queensland borders.
These wild dogs were trapped on one property in the last few months west of Wanaaring.
Mr Strong, of Wanaaring Caravan Park and Store, says the dogs are not even easy to trap, avoiding traps and baits. “I know of cases where tracks have been seen all around a trap,” he said.
Stock losses are hard to take as farmers battle drought and the high cost of feed. It’s believed one far west property brings in 180 tonnes of feed a week to feed their stock.
Western farmers though were given some financial reprieve this week when the NSW Government announced it will waive dog rates for western lessees- a benefit of up to $2000 a year. Farmers pay about 5.5 cents per hectare for dog rates per year, for properties over 1000 hectares. The move will benefit about 1300 farmers.
The Pastoralists Association of West Darling says the border dog fence has never been in a better condition. Farmers contribute about $1.7m a year to its upkeep.
But the fence often falls down in places, mainly due to wild pigs. Pastoralists say there would be no southern sheep industry without the dog fence.