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.
- More than 100 attacks by wild dogs have been registered on the North Coast in the past two months
- 225 calves have been killed and 93 maimed over a 12 month period
- A 10-year national wild dog plan comes into effect this week
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.
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.
He said dogs were becoming increasingly aggressive with domestic dogs in peri-urban areas.
He said the number of attacks may also be up on last year.
“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.
“Most of them are 70 per cent dingo bloodline, so we want to get some up to date information,” Mr Chamberlain said.
The National Wild Dog ten year plan was launched this week,.
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.”