Wild dogs circle Byron hinterland woman and her dogs as attacks increase on urban fringes

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A woman and her pet dogs have narrowly escaped being mauled by a pack of wild dogs as authorities report 100 attacks on pets and livestock in the past two months.

Raya Brunello was taking her two dogs, Frankie and Mikki, for their regular afternoon walk on her Clunes property in the Byron Bay hinterland, in far northern New South Wales, when she was encircled by three, large wild dogs.

“I didn’t have any sticks or stones to pick up and the younger dog was just behind me so I thought if I run they will just chase me,” Ms Brunello said.

“I just held my ground and waited.”

Ms Brunello’s mobile phone had one bar of reception and she managed to phone her husband.

“In the meantime I just screamed in a really loud, deep voice to try and deter them.”

She said she screamed herself hoarse in the seven minutes it took for her husband to come and find her.

Ms Brunello said she worried for her children who often walked in the area.

“I have no doubt in my mind it could have had a very different outcome,” she said.

More than 100 attacks in two months 

The close encounter comes at the end of the autumn breeding season where there has been a spike in both attacks and sightings of wild dogs.

A black dog looking into the camera, followed by a golden coloured dog, walking in rural Monaltrie, south of Lismore.
Motion sensor cameras are capturing wild dog activity on a rural property at Monaltrie, south of Lismore.(

Supplied: North Coast Local Land Services

)

Dean Chamberlain, who leads the North Coast Local Land Services’ invasive species team, said there have been well over 100 wild dog attacks on livestock and domestic pets in just the past two months.

Local Land Service records show a total of 658 recorded sightings of wild dog activity from the Hastings River to the Tweed border during April, May, and June.

Two brindle coloured dogs eating the rotting carcass of a calf
More than 90 cattle have been killed by wild dogs across the Northern Rivers region during Autumn.(

Supplied

)

He said dogs were becoming increasingly aggressive with domestic dogs in peri-urban areas as they looked for food sources and marked their territory.

He said the number of attacks may also be up on last year due to bushfires pushing some dogs out of some areas.

“Dogs would normally be targeting native species, so they would have moved to areas out of bushfire areas,” Mr Chamberlain said.

“You get this cascading effect of dogs moving through the landscape causing other problems.”

Genetic testing program gets started

North Coast Local Land Services, alongside the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, are calling for landholders to get genetic samples of dogs that are trapped or shot.

The aim is to better understand the hybridisation of dogs and their relationship with native dingoes.

“Most of them are 70 per cent dingo bloodline, so we want to get some up to date information,” Mr Chamberlain said.

A wild dog captured on a motion sensor camera on the North Coast
There have been more than 100 wild dog attacks reported on the North Coast in the past two months.(

Supplied: North Coast Local Land Services

)

The National Wild Dog ten year plan was launched this week, which builds on an existing action plan already in place.

It aims to work across state and territory borders and various levels of government to ensure control measures are best practice.

For Ms Brunello, best practice means more than just a few neighbours getting together for coordinated baiting.

“I don’t know if I was just unlucky, or it is something that people need to be made aware of now.”

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