Upper Hunter sheep producers want full time professional wild dog controller

Frustrated Upper Hunter sheep producers say they need a full-time professional wild dog controller if their industry is to survive in the region.

A specially convened crisis meeting will be held in Scone on Tuesday at the Bowling Club starting at 5pm to discuss the funding of a wild dog eradication program for the Upper Hunter.

Organiser Craig Murphy wants Hunter Local Lands Services (LLS) to fund the full-time position as a matter of urgency.

Sheep attacked by a wild dog near Scone

Sheep attacked by a wild dog near Scone

The Timor grazier lost 150 lambs last year, valued at $20,000, to wild dogs and he has simply had enough of the piecemeal approach to controlling the problem.

“We all pay our LLS rates so we think its about time they provided funding to control this menace otherwise we won’t have a sheep meat and wool industry in the Upper Hunter,” he said.

Mr Murphy said at a time of record lamb prices and fantastic wool returns farmers should be looking to expand their sheep numbers.

“But they can’t because of the wild dogs running rampant and its not simply a financial hit when they attack flocks its also takes a terrible emotional toll on the owners of the stock,” he said.

“The dog problem is now beyond most landholders we can’t control them ourselves while trying to run our own farms –  we are crying out for professional help.”

Mr Murphy said there were 250,000 sheep in the Hunter LLS area with the majority in the Upper Hunter west and north of Scone.

“And people have to understand if there are no sheep for the dogs to eat then they will start attacking calves and other livestock – lambs are just the honeypot at present,” he said.

Sheep attacked by a wild dog near Scone

Sheep attacked by a wild dog near Scone

Recently dogs have attacked and chased horses on leaded land adjacent to Glenbawn dam.

One professional dog trapper Ben Johnsen destroyed 100 in the district last year and, in many cases, this work was paid for by individual landholders, Mr Murphy said.

“We think its about time Hunter LLS stepped in and paid for those professional services,” he said.

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