WIRES Concern Over Stray Dogs

January 14, 2000 Tumut & Adelong Times

Members of the local branch of the wildlife rescue and care group WIRES (Wildlife Information and Rescue Service), have expressed dismay regarding the savage mauling of a small terrier by a large uncontrolled dog, as reported in last Tuesday's edition or the Times.

WIRES chairperson, Mrs Janice Kovacs, said what most concerns WIRES members is the denial by council's senior staff that a problem even exists in the area concerned.

This was despite the organisation bringing this to the attention of council on numerous occasions over the last 18 months.

Recently, in the space of just 12 months, WIRES volunteers have attended three separate incidents where domestic dogs have mauled kangaroos on the bush common adjacent to the Forest and Yaralla Street areas. In all cases, the kangaroos (one with a joey), sustained horrific injuries, and had to be euthanased.

When the last attack was reported on Prime Television news, an uncontrolled dog even walked up to the news team, and was captured on film.

Mrs Kovacs said WIRES had requested council to take a proactive approach to this problem, however, it seems little has been achieved.

Some weeks after the last kangaroo attack, council was asked what had been done about the problems in this area. The reply was that patrols were conducted, but no one had been issued with a fine over the last incident, despite positive identification of the dogs concerned by a member of the public.

A WIRES member was also told that the council ranger had issued no infringement notices in the area to that time.

A WIRES member has been doing random patrols of this area since the latest kangaroo attack, and discovered dogs are still being let loose, despite council's assertions that a problem does not exist.

WIRES believes councils ranger and staff need to realise that dogs do not keep office hours, and indeed are usually chained up whilst their owners are at work, and let loose after hours.

The statement by council's manager of development and the environment, Mr Paul Mullins, that council's patrols have shown less dogs on the streets now than previously is believed by WIRES to be an attempt to gloss over the problem.

WIRES members patrolling this area see roaming dogs nearly every time a patrol is conducted.

WIRES has suggested council needs to take a good look at the times it patrols and employs a ranger full-time.

"With the surrounding villages taken into account, we need a ranger who does more than attend to these matters when he has no other council duties," Said Mrs Kovacs.

Mrs Kovacs welcomed council's efforts to date, especially the increase in infringement notices, but believes this is yet to have an effect on the numbers of roaming animals. She believes more needs to be done, especially after hours.

WIRES support veterinarian, Jervis Hayes, regarding his comments on the latest attack, and believe he is in a better position to know the true situation than council staff.

WIRES is also on record as holding fears for the safety of people, particularly children and the elderly, as well as innocent domestic pets and, of course, precious native wildlife. This concern was reported in this newspaper after the latest native animal attack, as well as in the electronic media.

Mrs Kovacs said most of the injuries caused to wildlife by domestic animals can be avoided if pets are kept under control.