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Byron Shire
February 3, 2023

Control your dogs – they’re killing koalas

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One of the dead koalas killed by roaming dogs at the East Lismore campus at Souther Cross University. Photo supplied.

Two healthy koalas have been killed by dogs on the East Lismore campus of Southern Cross University leading to calls for people to take responsibility for their dogs and not let them roam off their properties.

‘The first [koala killed] was a healthy young female who clearly had a joey but the joey couldn’t be located and it was quite probably taken by the dog that had attacked its mother,’ said Friends of the Koala (FoK) president Ros Irwin.

‘The second was a young, healthy male killed on the campus on Monday, and when we carried out a necropsy several white hairs were located in its front claws, demonstrating that it fought back and may well have inflicted an injury on the dog. Regardless, it would have died slowly and in incredible pain,’ she said.

Southern Cross University has a significant population of healthy koalas on the campus and prides itself on being  ‘committed to a nation-leading approach to koala protection and conservation in association with Friends of the Koala and the Koala Care Centre,’ said Vice Chancellor Adam Shoemaker.

The University has said they will re-install signs excluding dogs from the campus – unless they are on a leash – soon and Mr Shoemaker has asked that ‘all those who use the Lismore campus to walk freely through it but to ensure that all pets are leashed and under total control.’

Roaming dogs

According to FoK it takes only one tooth from a dog puncturing through the skin to kill a koala. The puncture bite will cause septicaemia (blood poisoning) within 12 hours of the koala is not treated.

They believe that it is not leashed dogs but dogs that are allowed to roam off their owner’s property unsupervised that have recently killed the koalas.

‘We’ve had stray dogs at the care centre and after restraining the dogs, we’ve called Lismore Council on several occasions and on each occasion council staff recognised the animals and returned them to their owners advising them not to let the dogs roam,’ said Ms Irwin.

Roaming domestic animals is a significant problem not just in Lismore but also in the hinterland throughout the Northern Rivers said one local who asked not to be named.

Increasingly city people have moved into our bush areas and many of these newcomers do not understand the devastation their dogs and cats cause to the bush wildlife. Owners think it is fine to let their cats and dogs roam at will with no regard to what they are chasing, attacking and generally worrying.

‘There has been an obvious reduction of sightings of wallabies, possums, goannas, blue tongue lizards and koalas among others in recent years in the hinterland. I would urge anyone noticing straying cats and dogs to report them to our green Council who will take positive action.’

Close up of the damage caused by roaming dogs that have killed several koalas at the East Lismore campus at Southern Cross University. Photo supplied.

Restrain your pets

FoK are asking anyone who owns a dog to make sure they keep it restrained or contained on their property so that they are not in a position to attack koalas or other wildlife.

‘Any koala death is sad for us, but particularly when the koalas are young and healthy, as these are the ones that are so important for the future survival of the species,’ said Ms Irwin.

‘For our volunteers, who have to handle all the koalas we rescue, a death caused by a dog attack is the most difficult and it’s a very emotional issue.

‘We’re asking residents to keep an eye on their animals, particularly in known koala areas such as around the University in East Lismore. Koalas are so vulnerable and we know that most residents want to do what they can to help prevent needless deaths.’

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  1. Much worse threat than climate change to our quality of life and our environment is the unfettered and burgeoning spread of dogs and their increasing role in society. Chinese province of Yunnan is leading the way and banned its residents from walking their pet dogs on the street between 7am and 10pm every day. This is a good start and eventually will encourage people to cease the cruel act of ‘owning’ a (methane-omitting, meat eating, chook killing, noise polluting, water consuming, child mauling, public urinating domestic dog) and begin to re-gain their faith in humanity and community instead.

  2. When are stupid, irresponsible humans going to control their dogs!? Huh, man’s best friend becomes native animals worst nightmare.
    Come on humans, time to step up and grow some balls…….

  3. O Dear : Friend of Koala s
    Domestic DOG s should be Fenced ..walk on lead…!
    The Dog Owner is the PROBLEM….
    Suggest DOG owner / is implanted with DOG COLLAR !

  4. This report will get the juices flowing. Nobody cares when small kids and old people get attacked, and often killed, by savage dogs, but, kill a koala and you’re in all sorts of shit.

    • I agree with you. But the fines are imposed and fines are given to the dog owner, if found, after the Koalas are injured or killed.
      Whatever the solution. It should also be placed on cat owners.
      Ian Lambert, Pine Rivers Koala Care Association, Qld.

  5. Dogs here in the hinterland are a big problem

    New residents move into the valley and see freedom for their dogs.

    But lurking in the forests are feral dogs….waiting for action. And any challenge from new arrivals.

    3 months ago 2 newly introduced dogs met up with a couple of feral dogs. Their killing spree ended up seeing 6 of my free range hens slaughtered and 2 herons along side the road. Vehicles travelling the road identified the dogs.

    The domestic dogs crawled home the next day with injuries.
    No action could be taken as I had no proof via photos.

    Mating season is on now. Dogs can be heard resonating through the valley at night. We must be pro-active. Wild life is in decline big time, even out in the hinterland.

  6. So sad, breaks my heart,
    Such an innocent and vulnerable species.
    An Australian icon we are struggling to keep a population after so much slaughtering by the early Aussie population.
    And yet if it was the poor Koala attacking and killing a dog I bet the owner would be upset and disgruntled then!! show some remorse and care for others animals besides your own pets people, I am a dog owner and would never let him outside our fence boundaries without a lead.

  7. All dogs an cats should be leashed an cats kept at home inside cause they roam for miles they can do as much damage as a dog also why would u wnt ur dog attacked by a wild dog chances are ur dog will be worst off than the wild dog pls people keep ur pets at home or on a leash when walking them its much safer all round an also have ur pets being it cat or dog microchipped some places do it for free mine was done free.


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