Letter: Just keep your dogs home at night

File photo
File photo

ATTENTION ALL DOG OWNERS

My partner and I are landowners on North Bank Road near the Hydes Creek Road turnoff.  During the evening of November 21 our flock of 22 sheep was savaged by dogs.  We had eight dead sheep, three injured sheep and eleven petrified, scared sheep left, some with minor bites. I am imploring ALL dog owners to make sure that their dogs are safely secured at night.

We seem to have a very real problem with wandering dogs around Bellingen.  I understand that it is mandatory for dogs to be secured on their owner’s property and NOT allowed to roam.   

I know some people will say that our sheep succumbed to wild dogs.  This may be so, but it is my belief that our sheep perished at the teeth of domestic dogs.  When a wild dog attacks it eats the carcass. When a domestic dog attacks it just kills for the sport ... how funny – NOT.

I have heard so many times people say “It’s not my dog, he goes to sleep on the front verandah at night and is still there the next morning.” OR “My dog wouldn’t do such a thing he’s beautiful and wouldn’t hurt a flea.”   Pooey, there have been other domestic dog attacks in this town killing a number of sheep (I know of three – all domestic dog attacks) also, I know of one resident who walks regularly around the streets of Bellingen and she was nipped by a dog out by itself.  

Don’t get me wrong, my partner and I had a dog … a much loved, cuddled dog who would NEVER hurt its owner but one day it turned on anyone coming between us. We had to make a terrible decision. We LOVED that dog and will never forget him. So ... I DO know where I am coming from ... only difference ... our dog was NEVER free to roam at night.

Why won’t dog owners take responsibility?  If you have a dog it is illegal for it to be outside of your property unleashed or unsupervised.   Also, farmers have a legal right to shoot any dog entering an agricultural property ... there needs to be no warning, this is the farmer’s legal right ... a domestic dog is a danger to livestock as evidence in the past has proven.   

When a domestic dog enters a farm, especially where sheep are involved, they will run ... and the sheep then respond by running ... and they are running for their lives ... but the dogs seem to think that this is a good game ... unfortunately the sheep come out second best ... either dead or injured or terrified.   

One of our terrified lambs kept himself hidden in the foliage of a tree for about 12 hours before he would even venture out. A friend of ours had a ewe savaged by a dog and the rest of their sheep are terrified even when their own dog is present now.

Where does the council stand on this issue? – I have heard that Bellingen’s ranger is based in Macksville.  Don’t know if this is true or not but, nevertheless, why is it that nearly everyday I see dogs roaming around the streets on their own. Please do something – a few hefty fines or a check on registered dogs and their home environs might be a good start – and perhaps save the lives of some innocent gorgeous sheep.

A dog is a dog – NOT a toy doll – a dog is an animal at heart – don’t be fooled.   A farmer has the right to expect that his animals will be safe from these creatures.   A farmer loves his animals as much as dog owners love their dogs ... yes we are hurting.   Why can’t you just keep your dogs home at night?

Jackie Harris

Bellingen