FIGHTING A LOSING BATTLE: Sue Riley, of Wilsons Creek, with some of her cashmere goat herd that's been lucky enough to avoid death
FIGHTING A LOSING BATTLE: Sue Riley, of Wilsons Creek, with some of her cashmere goat herd that's been lucky enough to avoid death Northern Star

Wild dogs make farmers' lives hell

NORTHERN Rivers farmers are being driven to their wits end by wild dogs carrying out vicious attacks on their stock.

Sue Riley, of Wilsons Creek, has been breeding cashmere goats for 20 years and in the past couple of years got the flock up to a standard that was generating an income.

Since Christmas she has lost about 30 goats.

"Even with my Maremma guard dog and electric fences I am losing goats every week," Ms Riley said.

"It's been quite horrific."

But it is not only her goats' lives Ms Riley fears for.

"They're coming so close to my house now, right up to my front gate just below the house, in what I considered my safe paddock," she said.

"I used to sit down with the goats, but not any more. I make sure I stand up and there's a machete with me."

Ms Riley has a friend at Montecollum who lost 100 goats last year, and neighbours who have lost dogs to the feral pack.

"One man spent $2000 at the vet on his mauled pet dog, only to have it taken a second time," she said.

Dave Sherlock, of Goonengerry, is another local frustrated by the problem he feels nobody is doing anything about. "It's the killing fields up here," he said.

Dave has seen wallabies torn apart, koalas huddled in trees too frightened to come down, and most nights hears the unearthly howling from the dogs echoing through the whole valley.

"It's the koalas I'm concerned about. The way we're going there won't be any left around here soon," he said.

The problem is not just confined to the Byron Shire.

Casino Rural Lands Protection Board ranger Glenn Swanson said the board received 600 to 900 reports of cattle deaths by wild dogs every year and there were probably a lot of others that went unreported.

"We've got a lot of eucalypt plantations starting up around here, so there's a lot more habitat for them to frequent," he said.


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