170 sheep taken - and counting

18 Jul, 2014 02:00 AM
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There's no use having all this money and not seeing any dead dogs

MORE than 170 sheep, and counting, have been attacked by wild dogs on a number of properties at Neilrex, near Mendooran in the State's Central West.

Simon and his father Eric Beer, who farm neighbouring properties "Lonsdale" and "Pine Hill" respectively, have lost almost 100 Merinos themselves since November.

"This is not an area where we have ever had a dog problem before," Simon said.

One of their neighbours has lost 60 sheep so far, while another neighbour has lost about 10 Aussie White stud sheep.

Despite setting four traps across the properties and installing remote motion-activated cameras, the Beer's have not managed to stop the attacks.

"About 10 kilometres away, one bloke shot a dingo-looking thing. It weighed 28 kilograms," Simon said.

"We thought that was the end of it but a couple of nights later, there were more dead sheep."

The Beers have moved their sheep away from any scrubland on their properties in the hope a more open area would deter the dogs.

"We even put alpacas in with the sheep," he said.

"They stopped attacking for a while but went on to another neighbours place instead. They have come back here again since."

Simon said the dogs weren't just attacking defenceless lambs, but also taking on healthy ewes and wethers.

"They don't just come in and have a huge massacre- they just attack a couple of sheep a night, just attacking their kidney and leaving them, sometimes still alive."

A professional dog trapper has even been contracted from Tamworth to help the Beers.

"It was taking me two hours to check the traps and I was travelling about 30km a day," Simon said.

"Because this is the first time we have had an issue (with wild dogs) we want to get on top of the problem ASAP," Eric said.

"We don't want it to get to the point where we are trapping heaps of dogs when we can try and trap these few now."

The Neilrex area has plenty of scrub, which the Beers fear could house a large pack of wild dogs if the problem was not dealt with soon.

With the recent release of the National Wild Dog Action Plan, the Beers said funding to the right programs would help them.

Simon said software to individually identify wild dogs, if released, would certainly help in the area.

"We need to be able to access this funding so everyone can try to stop the problem, properly," Simon said.

"These dogs are smart - if someone doesn't set up a trap properly, they'll figure it out and avoid anything that looks like a trap."

"There's no use having all this money and not seeing any dead dogs."

TheLand
Rebecca Sharpe

Rebecca Sharpe

is a journalist for The Land at Dubbo

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