Fears dogs will attack kids
A POTTSVILLE farmer fears someone will die if a pack of wild dogs on the Tweed is not culled.
Steve Peterson, who owns 75ha on land in Cudgera and 7ha in Dunloe said since 2013 he had spent more than $10,000 destroying 32 wild dogs near the Black Rocks Estate.
He has collected dozens of photos of the dogs, which he says are just a small sample of the number stalking that part of the shire.
His cattle manager Tony Bower has been using a legal rubber jaw trap to catch and destroy the wild dogs which have been causing "major stock losses".
"The dogs smell the blood from the (cattle's) birth and they rip the back of the cow off as it's giving birth, killing the calf," Mr Bower said.
"The bitches, from investigation, use the sand hill nearest to the sport field for their breeding lairs," Mr Peterson said.
He said over the past four years he had observed goanna claws in dog scats (droppings), a complete cessation of wallaby activity, and a decline in koala numbers.
"Eventually someone will get attacked, like on Fraser Island," he said.
"If there are more than two dogs, you wouldn't stand a chance. One day it will happen; a kid will be taken."
Tweed Shire councillors have had a prolonged debate about a koala gate at the entrance of the Black Rocks Sports Field next to Mr Peterson's property.
Mr Peterson said he had complained to Tweed Shire Council about the dog problem.
"With all this hoo-ha about this koala gate, it seems ridiculous they're not allowing domestic dogs when there's a pack of wild dogs behind the fence."
But council denies the farmer's claims of a concentration of wild dogs near the Black Rocks sports oval.
"The number of wild dog sightings and trappings reported by the property owner exceeds the levels identified by council's own monitoring programs," pest management program leader, Pam Gray, said.
"Wild dogs typically travel over multiple properties within their home range, and it would be incorrect to suggest they remain within a particular land parcel in the Tweed Coast area."
She said the council was not certain of the impact of the dogs on native fauna.
It had tackled the problem by working with NSW Local Land Services and private landholders and running a monitoring program for wild dogs, foxes and cats on the Tweed Coast, including cameras and a trial run of a trap that sprays poison.
But Mr Bower said: "From experience, if you were to spray poison in their face, and it misses, the dog would learn, the same as with 1080 (poison) baiting.
All those aspects the dogs learn pretty quick," he said.
"I wasn't interested in having a dummy trial to enlighten the dogs."
Meanwhile, Mr Peterson predicts his dog trapping operation will have to continue "indefinitely", but he wants National Parks and Wildlife as well as the council to step up their pest management.
NPWS said they did not oversee the Pottsville Wetland and pet dogs posed more of a threat to humans than wild dogs.
Deputy Mayor says koala gate 'ridiculous'
DEPUTY Mayor Phil Youngblutt has thrown his support behind farmers who say wild dogs are out of control. He is planning a council motion to address the issue.
He also said the ongoing koala gate debate was ridiculous, because dogs were locked behind the gate.
"What Steve Peterson said about the wild dogs is 100% correct, the koala gate has absolutely no use whatsoever, never has been," he said.
"The council and several other government departments haven't done an adequate job in keeping the wild dogs under control.
"The real threat to wild life is not the domestic dogs but the half bred dingos and foxes. Debate of the koala gate is politically motivated."
While Cr Youngblutt and farmer Steve Peterson argue the wild dogs are in the wetland and the koala gate is ineffective, Team Koala's spokesman David Norris said there were no wild dogs in the wetlands and the gate was still needed.
Mr Norris said the wild dogs were in the sand mines belonging to Mr Peterson and not in the wetlands.