Lois Hunt, Broken Head.
Is the National government’s irrational concern over Johnny Depp’s pet dogs a strategic cover-up to disguise an out of control environmental problem? Packs of free ranging mutant dogs are already creating an environmental crisis in Australia. They are considered an out-of-control crisis if you care about the destruction of the natural wildlife with the predator kill-off of wallabies, koalas, reptiles and bird life. They are considered a social crisis for those people whose hearts are broken when their pets and livestock are killed off by the wild dogs, roaming the national parks and farm land, killing for the joy of it.
I am one of those with a broken heart. I had no idea these dogs existed until one night in March they killed one of my pet alpacas. Ruthlessly chasing it, attacking it and leaving it to linger in a slow painful death. I soon learned that these packs of dogs have been roaming the Lennox Head, Newrybar, Seven Mile Beach, Broken Head areas, returning twice a month for another kill. Within a few months, seven alpaca pets were killed on another property near Lennox.
Farmers are loosing their cattle and sheep. Others are losing their pet dogs, as they try to fend off or hide from the wild packs. One farmer revealed that he feared for his safety, even in the daytime, as a wild dog appeared and confronted the man in an isolated area. The farms in Ballina, Alstonville, Lismore and Kyogle are also affected by plagues of wild dogs attacking vulnerable animals for the chase and the kill.
These dogs are roaming through the natural park areas, killing off the native animals. For years I maintained my property at Broken Head as a refuge for several generations of wallabies. Sadly this year there are only two left. The dogs have extended their range of night roaming.
Now that they are in the Broken Head range, I have created a 1.5 meter steel night cage for my other 3 alpacas. These dogs can jump over a 4 ft fence. I sadly cannot create protection for the few remaining wallabies and koalas who live in my extensive rainforest.
I would rather see a vicious wild dog fall into comatose and die with the poison bait, than to see the large numbers of wildlife and livestock and pets suffer for hours with half their body eaten while left alive. I am grateful that our Local Land Services is finally dealing with this crisis in our area by activating their wild dog-baiting program.
My research reveals that the wild dog/fox baiting holds minimal harm to our native scavengers. The toxic compound in the 1080 poison exists naturally in 30 species of plants in Australia, and therefore our native scavengers’ digestive systems hold immunity to this natural toxin compound.
The poisoned bait is placed centimetres under the ground where the birds do not find it. The baits are not strong enough to affect the digestive system of a goanna or other native scavengers. This toxin is biodegradable and the amount used is specific only for dogs and foxes, which are foreign predators.
For those of you who are worried about the wellfare of your pet dogs, be aware. The wild dogs won’t hesitate to kill them. Maybe it’s time you also build a night cage for your night roaming pets, for the safety of the environment.