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Byron Shire
September 26, 2023

Dog attack on wallaby South Golden Beach – joey rescued

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A dog attacked a swamp wallaby yesterday (Tuesday, 3 May) at South Golden Beach (SGB) seriously distressing witnesses, one of whom attempted to get the dog off the wallaby. 

During the attack the wallaby’s joey fell from its pouch which was rescued by people at the scene and WIRES was called to take care of the orphaned joey. The mother swamp wallaby got away but has not been located. [See note on wallaby deaths at end of article]

A local, who asked not to be named, who attempted to rescue the wallaby said that the dog owners showed little care about the fact that their off the lead dog was attacking a wallaby and told him that ‘they could do what they wanted on a dog beach and I was to “get f*d”.’ The owners said they lived nearby.

The dog is described as being a large black dog with white markings and was accompanied by a man and woman and their two teenage children. 

80 per cent of dog owners are responsible, he said. It’s the 20 per cent who either refuse or are unable to train their dogs that cause the problem for everyone else.

If people will not train their dogs then they should not own them. They put at risk all of the responsible owners’ access to dog beach areas. This is the third incident I have personally reported involving dogs – one led to the offending dog being put down, the other after a person was hospitalised for two days requiring surgery after a savage dog attack. And now this one involving the mauling of a defenseless wallaby.

Quite frankly the local community are fed up with these types of people – often from outside the area – treating our beach like a ‘no responsibility, free for all, untrained dog, run amok area. It’s not. It is in fact the law to have your dog under effective control at all times. Put it on a lead. Train it. And if you can’t, or won’t – then get rid of it. It’s as simple as that.

Long history of supporting native wildlife

Following the incident, the South Golden Beach Community Association Facebook group took the chance to explain the history of the area and the effort locals have put into fighting to retain green spaces, wildlife corridors and reserves from a council and developers keen to build on all available space.  

‘It took years, and many, many hours. In fact it became a full-time job for many [people] lobbying councillors and being on committees, speaking in council etc.’

They have also reminded everyone that dogs must be on leads from your home to the end of the dog-walking path at the dog walking beach. 

‘If your dog rushes anything it can be classified a dangerous dog and it will have to do specialised training, be assessed, wear a muzzle when walked, be housed in a confined space etc.’

Joey has ‘fighting chance’

The joey was collected by WIRES Northern Rivers (Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service) yesterday and have reported that ‘The little swamp wallaby, named Beach, did well overnight. He has been assessed as viable and has a fighting chance.’

The joey is now in the care of an experienced wildlife carer near Lismore. 

The incident has now been reported to the Byron Shire Council rangers. 

Mother most likely died or dying

Wallabies will often die of myopathy following a dog attack.

Myopathy in Macropods (being wallabies, pademelons and kangaroos) happens when the animal is under extreme stress, as is the case when it is being attacked or chased by a dog,’ says WIRES.

‘The animal does not have to be injured directly to develop rhabdomyolysis, which is a disintegration of the muscle fibres. From within 24 hours up to a few weeks after the incident, the wallaby will show stiffness and paralysis mainly in the hindquarters, progressing to complete paralysis, it will also salivate excessively, death will occur within 2-14 days after the stressful incident.’

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  1. the dog owners should be placed on leads, removed from society and tied up on dog island with all the other selfish arseholes that make the world a crap place to live

  2. It is so annoying that some people with dogs ruin it for others who are responsible. Thye should be fined a serious amount, you would have thought even if the parents didn;t care their children might have!!

  3. Unfortunately it seems like yet another dog landed in the hands of incompetent owners. Their reaction being the proof in the pudding. The article doesn’t clearly state if the mother wallaby was killed or not, but if that dog killed our precious wildlife, it should be enforced to wear a muzzle while out and about.

    • [The updataed] Para 2 states: The mother swamp wallaby got away but has not been located. [See note on wallaby deaths at end of article]. And, according to WIRES, the mother has most likely died due to myopathy following the attack. Also, native wildlife do not have to be killed by a dog for it to be classified dangerous. As also clearly stated in the article: ‘If your dog rushes anything it can be classified a dangerous dog and it will have to do specialised training, be assessed, wear a muzzle when walked, be housed in a confined space etc.’

  4. Public shaming needed. Accountability for their shameful attitude towards defenceless wildlife.
    I wish someone had taken a photo of the dog and the owners to present to Byron council.

  5. Accountability needed for their shameful attitude towards defenceless wildlife.
    I wish someone had taken a photo of the dog and the owners to present to Byron council.

  6. it wld b great if someone snapped a pic of the offenders, if it cld b publicised that others , it might prevent another disaster. Preface that “In my opinion, given a recent incident on Sth Golden Beach, people walking with dogs or small children, shld b wary of any or others and their dogs. Just as one must ‘drive defensively’ one should not assume that people have their dogs under control even tho it is the law.”

    i thin that state and federal legislation require owners to not allow an animal they own to attack wildlife, even on their own property, let along a public place.

  7. Dogs are out of control and we have become their slaves in our pathetic slide from human dignity and trust of one another to a complete loss of faith in our own humanity. How many times have you heard the ridiculous misguided phrase “I love dogs more than people”. They are dogs! You cannot love a dog! get a grip people. Start loving the human race again. Its much more interesting and its what will save us. There’s a million more dogs in Australia since Covid arrived. God help us.


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