Killer poodle in feral pack killing animals, menacing people
TWO alpacas worth about $1500 each have been killed and another three seriously injured in an attack by feral dogs at The Pocket, triggering calls for hunters to be allowed in to track down and kill the dogs.
Farmer and WIRES carer Katy Stewart said the alpacas were mauled overnight between Sunday and yesterday in the latest in a string of attacks on livestock and native animals at Mullumbimby, The Pocket, Middle Pocket and Yelgun.
While rangers for the Livestock Health and Pest Associations have previously said feral dog activity had dropped off around The Pocket, Ms Stewart said it continued unabated.
However, many property owners had 'given up' reporting the attacks in frustration over the organisation's failure to fix the problem.
Ms Stewart said she had been inundated with calls from worried, angry and sometimes frightened property owners since The Northern Star reported on the problem last week. She said she learned of another eight recent attacks yesterday morning.
Those attacks included:
- A Yelgun farmer who has lost three calves and a cow to packs of feral dogs. That farmer's neighbour lost a goat last week and another the week before to dog attacks;
- A Mullumbimby farmer's cow was attacked and killed by dogs while giving birth. The calf was also killed.
- A pack of feral dogs menaced a Mullumbimby landowner's children on the front lawn of their farmhouse. The owner brought the children inside until the dogs were gone.
- A dairy farmer from The Pocket, who has been on the land there for 40 years, had a calf 'ripped to shreds' by feral dogs in January. She said she had never heard or seen wild dogs in the area until a few years ago.
- A farmer from Middle Pocket had a cow killed and a calf savaged by feral dogs. The calf survived, but is missing a chunk from its rump.
- Another Middle Pocket farmer has lost nine goats to dogs, three in December, has had calves attacked, his own dogs attacked and been personally menaced by feral dogs. One of that farmer's neighbours recently also lost a cow while it was calving.
The owner of the alpacas, Ian Mackay, declined to speak directly to The Northern Star, preferring to let Ms Stewart speak for him. She said he had seen the pack responsible for the attacks on his property yesterday, including a jet black dog that looked like a poodle.
That poodle is well known to farmers within the dogs' range. Ms Stewart said she had been told it acted as a 'spotter' for the pack, helping to co-ordinate the dogs as they attacked and to escape if humans appeared.
Mr Mackay had told Ms Stewart the pack had several six-month-old pups with it, suggesting a new surge in dog attacks.
"There are a lot of new ones that have just been born now, so there's going to be another explosion of attacks in six months," she said.