Roaming dogs slaughter sheep, chickens, wallabies in estate
RESIDENTS of a rural housing estate are waking up to dog prints and dead animals in their yards, following a spate of late-night attacks.
Like most rural areas, the Windsor Park Estate near Mount Hallen in the Somerset Region, is surrounded by dense bushland, which is home to foxes, dingoes and other animals.
But at the weekend, roaming dogs left a trail of bodies through the estate.
Lauren Eyton has lived in the area for two years, but said this was the first time she'd had dogs come into her yard.
"On Saturday morning I went outside to have my coffee and when I looked in the yard I noticed something different, and when I looked a bit harder I could tell it was a wallaby not moving," she said.
"My husband and I went down to have a look and that's when I noticed another one, quite a bit larger, on the other side of the paddock."
The wallabies both had puncture wounds from being bitten, but hadn't been torn apart or eaten.
Deep tracks in the ground, too large to belong to a fox, indicated a dog was possibly the culprit.
"From the footprints that were left, it looked like the same dog killed the female and then sprinted over to the male," Mrs Eyton said.
"We haven't had this issue before but we have heard that there have always been wild dogs, foxes, dingoes etc around these areas."
Chickens have also proven to be popular prey for the dogs roaming the area at night.
"We had half a chicken in our yard a couple of weeks ago, which was around the same time our neighbour across the road had her chickens killed," Mrs Eyton said.
"Another neighbour a couple of doors down had their chickens killed too, I believe the same night as the wallabies. A neighbour two doors down also had half-eaten chickens in their yard, and they don't have chickens."
She said she'd also heard that somebody had sheep killed the same night as the wallabies were killed.
Residents have contacted the Somerset Regional Council, who have been quick to investigate whether wild dogs or roaming pets were responsible.
"Council are coming out to put out a night vision camera to see what is happening with the dogs," Mrs Eyton said.
"It makes me happy that they are taking this approach rather than baiting straight away, especially after reading from many people's comments that people have been letting their domestic dogs roam.
"I would hate for their family pets to be caught up in this."
The Somerset Regional Council carries out a regular 1080 baiting program to help deal with wild dogs, but these efforts have been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I personally don't like the thought of using bait. But I also don't know enough about it as to whether or not other animals are attracted to it also," Mrs Eyton said.
"It is important to protect people's pets and livestock, so I hope they can find what has been hunting in this area."
UPDATE: May 27
Council officers have since visited the estate, and advised residents that baits cannot be used due to the large number of pets in the area that could be at risk.
More stories by Nathan Greaves