Farmer fears bloodthirsty wild dogs farmer fears dog attacks

COLLEEN Torney is afraid to walk around her Callide farm at night.

Her dogs won't even venture far from the safety of the house yard, as wild dogs terrorise their property.

Over the past month the Torneys have watched wild dogs stalk their stock and kill their calves.

“We watched one cow swing around and around in circles trying to keep the dogs away from the calf.

“The calf was bitten on the tail, but this time she was able to fend the dogs off.

“Another one wasn't so lucky.

“We discovered the cow, that had only given birth three days before, very distressed.

“She was in a mess and her calf was nowhere to be seen - I'd say it tried to protect the calf, but was unsuccessful.

“Another dog was following a calf along a track as it followed behind its mother.

“They are not just attacking them they are stalking them.

“By the time we got the gun it was close enough for us to tell it was a german shepherd or at least a cross.

“It had a big black mane of hair.”

Queensland Rail employees, working on the bridge near the Torney property, have also seen first-hand the brazen attacks.

“They were amazed that these two dogs were trying to bite the sheep, just below where they were working,” Colleen said.

The Torneys have also heard of their neighbours losing a lot of calves.

The spate of attacks has Colleen on edge.

“I am just a nervous wreck,” she said.

“We have to lock our dogs up at night and make sure the other young animals are safe in their pens.

“The other night I could hear the rams a little unsettled and I wanted to go out and bring them in and lock them up safely but I couldn't get out. I saw their eyes shining in the dark. It was frightening; it is just not safe.

“You don't want to go and see if they are okay.

“If they (wild dogs) can bring down a young heifer, there is nothing stopping them from having a go at me.”

Colleen believes the dog problem was heightened because they were unable to use baits on their property.

Under the new laws, baits cannot be left within 2km of a home unless they are tied down and permission is granted from all the neighbouring landholders.

The Torneys have tried using council dog traps, leg traps and shooting the wild dogs.

But every time the traps are set the dogs seem to disappear for a while.

“I just don't know what to do about it,” Colleen said.

Banana Shire rural services co-ordinator Gordon Twiner said these dogs were coming down out of the plateau country and had been fairly active.

He baited that area last Thursday and told Central Telegraph that by today the problem dogs should be dead.

“Their property is a conservation reserve and there is a bitch there whelping,” he said.

“This dog will go back to the area every year (for breeding) unless we kill her.

“By now the problem should be fixed.”

Colleen claims the wild dog problem goes back to responsible pet ownership.

“Too many people get dogs and cats for pets and then just dump them when they no longer want them,” she said.

As an animal lover, Colleen cannot understand why people would abandon animals to fend for themselves in the wild.

“All they are doing is creating a problem for other people,” she said.

“If they are not fit to look after a pet, something should be done to stop them from owning an animal.”

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