Wollondilly Shire Council to investigate dog attack incidents

ATTACKED: This sheep was killed by domestic dogs in The Oaks area earlier this year. Picture: Supplied
ATTACKED: This sheep was killed by domestic dogs in The Oaks area earlier this year. Picture: Supplied

Wollondilly Council is urging residents to help prevent dog attacks on livestock.

Council has launched an investigation into reports of domestic dog attacks in 2018, which have often led to fatal consequences.

Council is now seeking community feedback as it aims to form a strategy to stop further attacks.

There are particular concerns about livestock being targeted around the Wilton area.

Wilton farmers Monty and Trudi Catford were among the first residents to lodge their concerns with council this year.

Mr Catford said 12 sheep were killed on his 100-acre property a “couple of months ago”.

He said seven of his stock died in an initial attack, and five more sheep died in a three-week period.

Mr Catford said his cattle stock had also been chased by wild dogs.

“Our stock has been separated and some of our cattle have ended up in the middle of town,” he said.

“We’ve probably lost $5000 worth of stock [due to dog attacks].”

Mr Catford said he was pleased Wollondilly Council was investigating dog attacks.

“But it’s the owner’s responsibility to keep their dogs restrained in their yard,” he said.

“There were attacks happening around here when I was younger, but they are getting worse now.”

Residents in Wilton and surrounding areas will soon receive a letter advising them to be vigilant about their livestock’s safety.

Locals will also be encouraged to report any dog attacks to council.

Wollondilly Council’s manager of compliance Robyn Cooper said council took all dog attack reports seriously.

“Attacks on livestock are most commonly carried out by dogs that have not been adequately contained within their own property,” she said.

Ms Cooper said the owner of a dog who allowed it to attack was responsible for the cost of veterinary treatment for the affected animals.

“Dog attacks from wild or domestic dogs can have a negative impact on farmers, both financially and emotionally,” she said.

“It is estimated to cost farmers thousands of dollars each year in lost income and is extremely distressing for the livestock involved.”

Great Sydney Local Land Services general manager David Hogan said he supported the council’s decision to launch an investigation.

“Local Land Services applauds the efforts of Wollondilly Council to reduce the impacts of domestic dog attacks on livestock in the area,” he said.

“We encourage landholders to contact council should domestic dogs be involved with attacks on livestock on their property."  

Wollondilly farmer Tania Henson also contacted The Advertiser about dog attacks on livestock in The Oaks and Orangeville area.

Ms Henson, who runs a hobby farm in The Oaks, said 16 sheep had been killed on her property in the past 18 months.

The first incident occurred in March 2017 when her herd of eight sheep were attacked by dogs.

Six of the sheep died almost instantly, while two were euthanised due to their severe injuries.

Following the incident, Ms Henson brought eight new sheep to her property.

Ms Henson said it cost about $1800 to purchase a new flock.

In April 2018, the replacement sheep were attacked and killed by dogs.

Two of the surviving animals had to be euthanised due to the severity of their injuries.

Ms Henson said she believed both attacks were caused by neighbouring dogs and she was concerned the owners were “not taking responsibility” for their animals.

She said the two attacks had proven a setback for her farm.

“We have a small property, it’s a hobby farm so we used the sheep to keep vegetation down,” she said.

“I would then herd them up and drench them.”

Ms Henson said she had heard of similar attacks in the The Oaks, Orangeville and surrounding areas in the past two years.

A council spokesperson said there had been no reports of dog attacks in The Oaks area this year.