Noosa hinterland landowners live in fear of more wild dog attacks

Noosa hinterland landowners live in fear of more wild dog attacks
  • PublishedSeptember 15, 2023

Still on edge, Jodie Williams scans her Noosa hinterland paddocks as her beloved dog Baloo growls at what she suspects is the scent of wild dogs, still hiding on her farm.

Key points:

  • Wild dog packs are attacking animals in the Noosa hinterland
  • Baloo the blue English Staffordshire bull terrier is the latest victim
  • He survived the attack but sheep, goats, cattle and peacocks have been killed

Warning: This story contains details and images that some readers may find distressing.

Minutes earlier, the handsome blue English Staffy had whimpered on return from the vet, bearing bite wounds and bruises from a life-and-death battle.

Two-year-old Baloo was attacked by three wild dogs just 50 metres away from the safety of the house at 6am on Sunday.

He and Ms Williams’ six-month-old pup, Lola, had been let out to go to the toilet.

Within five minutes Lola came racing back, “barking and really upset”, as her best mate fought for his life.

The feral animals tried and failed to latch onto his solid muscly neck.

“One of them was repeatedly grabbing his ear and trying to get a better hold, one was biting his back leg and the other one was trying to bite him on his back and under his stomach,” Ms Williams said.

The jagged cuts left on a dog's neck after a wild dog attack.
Baloo was bitten around the neck, belly and rear.(ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols)

“We’re just glad that we got there so quickly, otherwise he might not have been as lucky – like many of our sheep.”

The respected businesswoman and chef, who owns Mayan Farm and operates Kin Kin’s Black Ant café and general store with her partner Brett Gowley, has been galvanised by the latest of repeated attacks.

Four dogs in the bush.
A pack of wild dogs captured on a trail camera in Kin Kin.(Supplied)

Working together

Ms Williams has created the Facebook page Wild dogs Facebook Kin Kin and Surrounds Wild Dog Management to help the community communicate sightings, attacks, and keep track of where howls are heard.

“So in the event that they do know that there are dogs heading this way, it gives us an opportunity to be pre-warned and then do what we need to do to protect our animals.”

She explained that mixed-breed mongrels had become so brazen they were attacking livestock and pets during the day, as well as at night, despite the efforts of residents and Noosa Council to manage the problem.

“The dogs aren’t killing for food, they’re killing for sport,” Ms Williams said.

“They’ll kill and maim animals, just go from one to the other, until they get bored or until they get interrupted.”

Ms Williams said Mayan Farm had lost more than 40 sheep to wild dogs in two years.

A sheep on the ground with blood on its neck. The wound is pixilated to reduce stress to readers.
A pixilated photo of one of Jodie William’s fatally injured sheep.(Supplied: Jodie Williams)

“It’s got to the point where we’ve stopped breeding sheep, it’s just too hard,” Ms Williams said.

“We used to lock them up at night and that was great.

“Now the attacks are happening in the middle of the day, broad daylight.”

Retired Kin Kin dairy farmer Russell Davis said Marshmallow, Bobby, Woody and Bluey were among 12 surviving goats locked up for safety at his property.

A grey haired man with a moustache crouches next to one of his goats
Russell Davis says he has lost too many pet goats to wild dogs.(ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols)

Mr Davis said he lost 16 kids and 7 adult goats to wild dogs between December 2021 and January 2022.

He said 16 peacocks had been taken this year and domestic dogs being left loose at night had added to the pressure.

“I always say with farming, if you’ve got livestock you’ve got deadstock. You have to learn to come to terms with it,” Mr Davis said.

“But it’s just so hard when some of them are hand raised. You can cuddle the lot of them, it’s just not good.”

Goats locked up inside a yard with high fences.
Mr Davis is keeping his goats locked up during the day.(ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols)

Mr Davis said he already kept in phone contact with his neighbours and supported Ms Williams’ idea of a dedicated social media page.

“That’s the only way you can look after each other is to tell each other what’s happening, where the new threat is coming from,” Mr Davis said.

Community concern

Not far down the road, High Spirits Retreat owner Jorgen Sorensen said he felt sick to the stomach after waking at his Kin Kin home to the sound of his neighbour’s goats screaming in pain on Friday night.

A man stands at a fence post with sheep behind him.
Jorgen Sorensen is sick of waking up to the screams of livestock under attack.(ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols)

“We have also been experiencing some really bad times with wild dogs that come in and attack our sheep, and the neighbour’s sheep and goats,” Mr Sorensen said.

“The sheep just freeze. They don’t seem to have a defence against the dogs and the dogs don’t make any sound.

“But we hear the screaming of the goats and I get up and I shine my torch and they [the wild dogs] disappear, but then they come back again.”

Dozens of people shared their own distressing encounters after Ms Williams posted news of the attack on Baloo on social media.

The biggest pack sighted included 15 wild dogs, a mix of dingo crossed with domesticated breeds.

A green paddock with a tree line in the distance.
Packs of wild dogs follow the creek lines to move throughout Kin Kin. (ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols)

The residents ABC Rural spoke to were not critical of Noosa Council’s response to the wild dog threat, which included trapping and twice-yearly baiting in conjunction with Gympie and Sunshine Coast regional councils.

Sheep in a field
Wild dogs like to target sheep and smaller livestock.(ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols)

Noosa Council acting environment manager Rebecca Britton said increasing landholder awareness of the importance of adequate exclusion fencing was the best option for effective management protection long term.

“Noosa Council’s program uses an integrated approach to manage the impact of wild dogs, including promoting the use of exclusion fencing, guardian animals, and the use of control methods such as trapping and baiting,” Ms Britton said in a written statement.

“Our aim is to work with landholders to improve education and awareness about wild dog management and to provide assistance, where necessary, to carry out control on their properties.”

A dog rests with another dog in the background.
Baloo is recovering with his six-month-old buddy Lola.(ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols)

As for Baloo, his wounds were cleaned and he was receiving a course of antibiotics.

His owners were still shaken.

“It took us a while to calm down afterwards,” Ms Williams said.

“My partner, he felt sick most of the day from just seeing what he saw, the adrenaline and how he felt, realising if that if we were another minute, at any stage it could have gone pear-shaped.”


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