By Luis Feliu
A spate of recent attacks by wild or roaming domestic dogs around dunes and cycleways on the Tweed Coast has prompted authorities to step up control measures and a warning to state agencies the feral animals threaten endangered koalas in the area.
The attacks include the fatal mauling of a pet dog at Casuarina as it walked with its owners and the stalking by several wild dogs of an elderly woman strolling near the dunes from Casuarina to Cabarita.
Tweed Shire Council last week issued a warning for people in the area to stay out of the coastal native vegetation areas from Cudgen Creek to Cudgen Nature Reserve and adjacent cycleways as council and National Park and Wildlife Service (NPWS) rangers respond to the attacks.
NPWS had already begun baiting for routine wild-dog control on adjacent Crown land, while council is working with private landholders to undertake control measures on their properties.
Council’s director of community and natural resources, Tracey Stinson, said both authorities were working closely to step up control measures in Cudgen Nature Reserve and nearby land.
‘In the meantime, we are strongly advising people to stay out of the coastal dunes, the native vegetation areas west of Salt Villages and off the cycleways from Cudgen Creek to Cudgen Nature Reserve, north of Cabarita Beach, until the situation has been brought under control,’ Ms Stinson said.
‘That includes both the foreshore cycleway and the western cycleway the runs between Salt Village and Cudgen Creek.
Council has received reports of three attacks by dogs or pet dogs between Cudgen Creek and Cabarita Beach in the past two months. The first is believed to have been by a roaming domestic dog, but the other two reportedly involved wild dogs.
After the second incident a few weeks ago, signs were erected along the coastal cycleway to advise people it was closed between Cudgen Creek and Salt Village, and council has also installed signs warning people to keep away from the coastal bushland from Cudgen Creek to Cudgen Nature Reserve, north of Cabarita Beach.
‘We urge people to observe that warning until further notice.’
Ms Stinson said council was extremely restricted in the type of control measures it could use on Council-controlled land in that area, because it was so close to homes.
’It is very difficult to safely trap or bait in that location because of the risk to people and domestic pets,” she said.
Meanwhile, a motion by Tweed shire deputy mayor Phil Youngblutt last Thursday passed unanimously called on state agencies to be contacted over the eradication of feral animals near the Black Rocks estate in Pottsville as they posed a threat to the survival of koalas in the area.
Ms Stinson said council would launch an education program for residents which would include signs advising people on how to respond if they encounter a wild dog, as well as brochures sent to nearby residents and information on council’s website at www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/WildDogs.
Key do’s and don’ts:
* Never approach, entice or feed any wild dogs
* If you are approached by wild dogs – stop, fold your arms and back away slowly
* In the unlikely event you are attacked by a wild dog, be as aggressive and loud as you can and, if available, use a stick to ward them off
To report any wild dog sightings in the affected area call council on (02) 6670 2400 with’ an accurate description, including location, size, colour and type of dog.
For information about the NP&WS control program, contact (02) 6670 8600.