Dog owners fear start of fox-baiting
By Patrizia Reimer THE mere mention of the word 'poison' strikes instant fear into many dog lovers, but Lisa Wellman believes it is often unwarranted and usually misplaced.
"One of the most common forms of dog poisoning is by chocolate," she said in response to criticism of a fox-baiting program starting in July.
The pest management officer with the Parks and Wild-%life group of the Department of Environment and Climate Change said the 1080 poison used in the baits was made from a naturally-occurring substance in Western Australia, so most native animals had co-existed with it and therefore needed extremely large doses to be affected.
Dogs, however, could die if they dug up the buried baits. "People are opposed to 1080 for a number of reasons," she said.
"But if you're a dog owner you're supposed to be a responsible pet owner and keep it within the bounds of your own property.
"There's a pesticide control order where people need to comply, and it's up to that person who owns the land or their agent to comply. If they don't they get investigated."
A fox-baiting program will begin on July 2 when baits will be placed from the South Wall at Ballina to 10 Mile Beach in the Bundjalung National Park until December 21.
The program is in its 10th year and has been hugely successful in increasing fledgling numbers of one of the most significant pied oystercatcher populations in the State, and is a joint initiative with the Rural Lands Protection Board.
Ms Wellman said the fox was an industrious eater consuming virtually anything, and therefore was attracted to rural residential areas with ample food sources. But not everyone thinks this is the best way to deal with foxes. Keith Hall resident Joanne Boyton said she lost a family pet dog a few years ago to the 1080 bait and believes they are unsafe for dogs.
"I lost a pure-bred boxer dog, a much-loved pet, to the fox bait program when one of them was put in close range of my house," she said.
"They were giving them to the local farmers and they weren't putting them in the right places and dogs were getting killed. Mine died in agony."