Gone to dogs

LEAVING the house at night is getting more difficult for Ramornie residents who fear the population of wild dogs is growing in number, size and bravado.

Smaller landholders in the area have also expressed frustration that they are not allowed to gain a permit to bait dogs on their own land.

Kathleen Davies, who lives with her partner on an 8000sq m property with goats and chickens, said the dogs had been circling her property in recent months.

“I had another sleepless night last night as the animals howled their way across the ridge line,” she said on Friday.

“They also crossed over to the land behind us. It was frightening to be standing outside waiting to fly to the defence of the pets as these terrorists circled the property.”

Like Ms Davies, Carol Bryant, who owns 7ha of bushland in Ramornie, was told by the Livestock Health and Pest Authority that her property was too small for her to obtain a licence to bait the feral animals with 1080 poison.

“How are we meant to protect our stock?” she asked.

“They want me to convince the neighbours to go out and pay for, and do a course, so they can bait my property. Why are we having to pay for this? This is a community issue. These dogs cover very large areas.

“What do we pay our rural rates for?”

Mrs Bryant, a self-confessed staunch greenie, said she had noticed a decline in the wallaby population in recent times.

“I don’t like the thought of it (baiting), but I would rather bait these dogs than see the native wildlife disappear.”

She said she had spotted a pack of about six dogs on her property a couple of months ago while walking her dogs.

All of them were nearly as tall as her German shepherds, and even though they ran away the experience had put a stop to her dog walks.

“I wouldn’t even consider going outside our house yard at night,” she said.

Ms Davies said the dogs’ nightly antics had contributed to the death of her alpacas earlier this year.

“They are a guard animal and were always on edge at night. Now the goats are being affected,” she said.

“The dog pack has grown again in recent months and there appears to be several quite large animals amongst them.

“People here are terrified, especially at night, and there doesn’t seem to be a thing we or anyone else can do, or is willing to do. I was recently confronted by a very large stray dog while hanging out the clothes.

“It was a pit bull. The same style of dog had also been mentioned by neighbours as having been seen checking out livestock.

“I managed to grab it and get it taken away by the pound.”

Livestock Health and Pest Authority senior ranger Dean Chamberlain said a whole community approach needed to be taken on wild dogs for any baiting program to be effective.

He said the authority could facilitate a meeting to establish a plan of management.

Courses for the use of 1080 poison were conducted about twice a month and cost $44.

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