Dingo strike at Wheatbelt heart

24 Sep, 2003 10:00 PM
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A DINGO has terrorised farms near Burracoppin for the past six weeks, which has renewed fears the wild dog problem is worsening in the Wheatbelt.

Dog attacks on pastoral area livestock have been widespread and led to an Agriculture Protection Board (APB) report that recommended increasing all-known control methods for the pest.

Agriculture Minister Kim Chance also agreed to trial a bounty system in the Shire of Laverton.

Burracoppin farmers Max Downsborough and Graham Johnson have lost 15 and three lambs respectively to the dingo, which has taken refuge in the adjacent Burracoppin Reserve after its attacks.

At first it only tore at lambs, but soon progressed to killing and eating them.

Mr Downsborough said this was the first time wild dogs had been a problem in the area.

"Fifteen lambs is not a huge loss compared to people losing 500 in the pastoral country, but for us it's significant, the lambs are worth $60 each," he said.

He said the APB had suggested laying ground baits, but the sanctuary of the reserve made the animal hard to target.

It attacked sporadically and was dormant for long periods of time.

Critics of the APB's wild dog control report said too much emphasis was placed on landholder action, which didn't extend to crown land.

Mr Downsborough wanted the board to help by using a trained dogger or another appropriate method.

"We would like some assistance - they are so cunning these dogs, we could bait foxes no problem," he said.

Mr Johnson spotted the dingo a week ago, with its head buried in the bowels of a dead sheep.

He attempted to chase it but was unsuccessful.

Public consultation on the APB's report ended on August 15.

The board will meet with Mr Chance to discuss enacting its recommendations.

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