FRIENDS of the Koala carer Sue Johnson with a baby koala orphaned because of a dog attack on it's mother.
FRIENDS of the Koala carer Sue Johnson with a baby koala orphaned because of a dog attack on it's mother. Crystal Spencer/ Tweed Daily News

Family dog could be a koala killer

A SPATE of dog attacks on koalas in the Tweed has carer Sue Johnson urging residents to keep an eye on the family pooch.

Ms Johnson, a carer with Friends of the Koalas for the past 10 years, said 13 dog attacks on koalas had been reported to the service since July, including one fatal incident in Cudgen last week.

“We had an adult female koala in Cudgen last week that bled to death from puncture wounds,” Ms Johnson, of Crabbes Creek, explained.

“It was definitely a dog attack. The koala had been running away and the dog went for its behind.”

In another recent incident, she said a German shepherd had killed a koala at Lismore.

Ms Johnson said she was currently caring for a little koala which had lost its mother in a dog attack and was now carrying around a teddy bear as a kind of surrogate mother.

“It's just so sad,” she said.

Friends of the Koala are warning residents to contact them if they believe a koala may have suffered a dog bite, as it can often lead to a long and painful death if untreated.

“Speedy response is essential to a witnessed or even suspected dog attack,” Barbara Dobner, the service's co-ordinator, said.

“Although dog attacks can mean the death of a koala, if veterinary attention is received quickly the chance for recovery increases dramatically.”

Ms Dobner said while 13 attacks had been reported, seven were suspected and the other five had resulted in death.

She said dog bites often left small wounds which were difficult to see in a koala's dense coat, and therefore needed professional help to check.

Ms Dobner said the risk of koalas being attacked was high at the moment as they were on the move for food and mating.

Friends of the Koala operate a 24-hour hotline, which is (02) 6622 1233.

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