Wild dogs attack. Resident warns a child could be next
IN the space of half an hour Norman Gray's kids went from playing with their nan's young dog Lucy to saying their goodbyes after she was killed by a pack of wild dogs.
"The kids have been in tears, they're just shattered," Mr Gray said.
"Lucy meant so much to them, and she was such a nice dog and to see her attacked like this, it's horrific."
The brazen attack on the property on Sheehans Ln is the latest in a series of reported wild dog sightings and attacks on kangaroos, chickens and ducks in the area.
The attack happened when Lucy went outside to investigate noises coming from Mr Gray's mother-in-law Ann North's chicken coop. Five wild dogs circled Lucy before they savaged and killed her, in an attack that only lasted minutes.
Ms North witnessed the attack and called Mr Gray in distress for help, but by the time he arrived it was too late to save Lucy.
"I tried to get there as fast as I could, but it was just too late," he said.
Mr Gray said he feared if something wasn't done about the wild dogs soon, these attacks could get worse.
"They're getting so brazen," he said.
"That could be some kid playing in their backyard, they're so fast and quick a parent wouldn't have time to save them.
"These dogs are organised and know how to hunt and kill prey. These dogs are killers, they're in a pack and they've got the taste of blood. This time it happened to be the dog, but it's too close to comfort for me. What if it was the kids?"
Local Land Services team leader Dean Chamberlain said wild dogs are a constant problem throughout the Clarence Valley.
"They're pretty widespread and travel quite long distances," he said.
"There's generally quite large numbers of dogs in the valley and we are working with landholders all the time on control programs."
Dogs are entering into their breeding season, and Mr Chamberlain said attacks on domestic dogs can increase around this time of year as a result.
"Wild dogs are consolidating their territory, and other dogs in the area can be seen as a threat, so we find attacks are more common in breeding season," he said.
"If wild dogs see domestic dogs and get the opportunity to attack, they will attack with the thought of killing. If they can't drive the domestic dogs out they will attack and it can be quite severe.
Mr Chamberlain urged residents to inform Local Land Services of any wild dog attacks they witness.
"If we don't know what's happened, we can't do anything about it," he said.
"If we get some reports and some information, we can build up a picture of the situation and develop a control program.
"Each situation is different, so we need to assess what's happened and try and work towards a reasonable outcome."
While Mr Chamberlain was unaware of the latest attack in Gulmarrad, he conceded some of the smaller property sizes in the area can make proven methods of control difficult.
"We can't do any of our normal control methods with the same effectiveness on smaller properties," Mr Chamberlain said.
"We primarily use baiting programs, which are the most cost effective and efficient mode of control."
Mr Gray said Clarence Valley Council and Local Land Services are aware of the extent of the wild dog problem, but neither have taken responsibility.
"I'd like to see these government departments and council do something," he said.
"They charge us rates across the whole valley, they're aware of the problem and have got the resources to do something about it, but this bureaucratic passing the buck is not fixing the problem.
"I know what sort of a pack of dogs these are, I've seen what they've done, and it's just frustrating to go through this when we pay people to look after it.
"It's a clear problem and council needs to get their act together and take responsibility and do something about it."