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Stop wild dogs or face the consequences: farmers

26 Apr, 2012 02:00 AM
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 Kalannie farmer Ashley Sanderson with one off his young rams that had fallen victim to a recent wild dog attack
Kalannie farmer Ashley Sanderson with one off his young rams that had fallen victim to a recent wild dog attack

FARMERS in the Goodlands region north of Kalannie warn that if more isn't done to solve wild dog problems in the area, the consequences could be dire.

With farmers in the area losing more than 300 sheep in the last two months, growers like Ashley Sanderson warn the problem needs to be resolved soon before the dogs migrate further south.

"If they get into areas such as Toodyay and New Norcia with loads of bush, they will be almost impossible to eradicate," Mr Sanderson said.

Mr Sanderson, along with other producers in the region, is forming a declared species group.

The group is calling on the government for more funding, to upgrade the existing Yilgarn-Lake Moore emu-proof fence to include a lap wire, funding for a full-time dogger and to look at the prospect of aerial baiting, to help control the wild dog numbers.

"The large lake systems in the area make it tough to control the problem, because they are hard to navigate," he said.

"The dogs get in there and are able to travel 30 kilometres a night."

With wild dog attacks claiming more than 90 of Mr Sanderson's sheep, 30 of which have died in the last month, a united front is needed by all producers in the area.

Mr Sanderson said the declared species group had just finished producing 5400 baits to go out over the next few weeks, on top of a further thousand that had already been placed.

The large amounts of feral animals in the area mean the baits would hopefully wipe out the fox population, which would mean the focus could then be on the wild dogs.

"We started the baiting in January and three months later we're getting the last of the foxes," he said.

As total eradication of wild dogs is unlikely, Mr Sanderson hopes that through ongoing management the dogs can be kept to an appropriate level that will allow producers to remain growing sheep.

Kalannie farmer Wal Ashworth said farmers faced two options to either manage the dog problem or get out of sheep.

Due to Mr Ashworth's property being situated further back from the fence compared to other producers on the front line, it had received less attacks.

"I have been quite lucky, but it's still concerning," he said.

Mr Ashworth said it was hard to put a figure on the actual number of sheep lost in the region as the dogs had been in the region for longer than anybody realised.

"It has taken us a while to work out the deaths we have been seeing were a result of the dogs," he said.

"There have been sightings of dogs once a year for the last half a dozen years, but they have only just been the odd dog.

"The fact it's taken us this long to put two and two together, is probably some indication the dog problem is actually worse than we thought."

With seeding about to start in the region the fear is the issue will be placed on the back burner by farmers, and momentum behind the issue will slow.

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READER COMMENTS

dingobb
27/04/2012 12:19:49 AM, on Farm Weekly

This is what you get when the head office is full of managers on big salaries telling the country offices to sack staff and not replace them. In 1980,s Dennis Mcglade was the APB dogger and woprked with me to controll the dogs on the abandoned Mt Hampton Staion area. We took out 30 dogs over 4 months. The control was there before the cuts and now the dogs have bred up and there is a expanding population preying on livestock. Time for the DoA&F to do some soul searching!
fridgimus
28/04/2012 12:00:34 AM, on Farm Weekly

Typical Dingobb, by the day, more focus on admin than getting the job done on the ground.
farmer Barb
3/05/2012 3:37:02 PM, on Farm Weekly

I know just how Ashley feels. You spend years selecting blood lines and all your work is undone when you look in the paddock at 40-50 animals dead or dying because they have been torn to pieces by Dingos or Feral dogs who appear to have no interest in eating their kills. Heartbreaking to see the pitiful injured stock looking at you and pleading with their eyes for help. All you can do is shoot them and bury the carcases. Whatever researchers both here and overseas say, Dingos and their crosses are not native to Australia and should be dealt with accordingly.

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COMMENTS

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Sorry Chops, but the reality is already here, we have been relegated to a nation of price takers
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I am in Dubai at the moment staggered by the price for Australian beef at any one of hundreds
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Rob an underpinning principle of a spot market that needs to be embedded is that the producers