Farmer calls on state to act on wild dog problem

Member for Benambra Bill Tilley, Victorian agriculture minister Peter Walsh and Granya farmer Peter Star in 2011. The minister visited the region to speak to farmers about the wild dog problem.TALLANGATTA Valley farmer Ray Snaith is sick of bearing the brunt of wild dog problems without assistance from the government.

Mr Snaith has been reporting dog sightings on his farm to the Department of Environment and Primary Industries with little result.

“I feel I am getting fobbed off all the time,” he said.

He phoned the department to advise of dogs on his farm but a later check with the dogman revealed the message never got through.

Mr Snaith rang a senior departmental officer in Wodonga on Thursday and told him he believed they had put his problems in “the too-hard basket”.

Back in 1995 when Mr Snaith moved to his property, he had 200 cross-bred ewes.

“The dogs hunted me out of them and I sold what remained about five or six years ago,” he said.

But last spring, he bought about 60 first-cross ewes and they have recently been lambing.

Some of his lambs have gone missing and he has seen a ginger wild dog on his property.

Mr Snaith has found one lamb killed, another hamstrung and another suffering from a serious bite wound.

He told the department it was his belief the government was trying to phase out dogmen and he wants to know why three positions in the North East have not been filled.

Granya farmer Peter Star told a meeting at Cheshunt recently more dogmen were needed.

He is a member of the government’s wild dog committee but stressed his comments were made as a Victorian Farmers’ Federation land management committee member and farmer.

Mr Star said any official comments from the wild dog committee had to come from chairman Peter Bailey in Gippsland.

The biosecurity operations manager with the department, Michael Bretherton, said a meeting with Mr Snaith was scheduled for last Friday.

“We encourage land managers if they see or hear a wild dog, to call in so we can record the information,” he said.

“Reports of stock being killed or maimed will be given priority response over wild dogs reported seen or heard.

“The most effective way we can tackle the wild dog issue is with the help of the community.”

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