Statement about Wild Dogs

On behalf of the Nhulunbuy Corporation, I would like to respond to resident concerns about wild dogs.

I appreciate that this is a very emotive issue, and as a dog owner myself, my heart goes out to those whose pets have either passed away or been injured in recent incidents. To this end, I want to ensure that the facts of this matter are clearly communicated and understood, so that we don’t spread undue stress or incite members of the community to take their own action.

Firstly, the safety of all residents and their pets remains the Nhulunbuy Corporation’s primary concern. We conduct year round monitoring and control activities with the assistance of Arnhem Land Pest Control. This includes the use of live traps and a shooting program. We have not used any form of poisoned bait to date nor would we without an appropriate awareness campaign.

The dogs that we are dealing with are ‘hybrids’ which means that they are a mix of domestic and native breeds. We do not have many full blood dingoes in the region. The increase that we have seen recently is anecdotally due to residents leaving dogs behind when moving from town, town dogs mating with hybrids, and a current plentiful food supply. We appear to have one pack of approximately 6-8 dogs moving between the eastern and western sides of town at present.

Whenever the Nhulunbuy Corporation is made aware of any incident involving wild dogs, we take immediate action. With regards to recent events, we placed a number of live traps in the areas of concern and more broadly as quickly as we could. Disappointingly, a number of traps have since been stolen. However, we still have at least three operational traps which we are monitoring closely and we are actively conducting daily searches in known wild dog hot spots.

We have eradicated a number of the pack through these means. However, we also intend to make preparations for a one-off controlled bating program if we are unable to account for a significant number of the dogs by the end of November. If we proceed, the program will use 1080 poison as part of a closely controlled release in one isolated and specific location. The details of any baiting program will be clearly communicated well in advance to all residents. In the meantime, more information about 1080 can be found at: http://www.nt.gov.au/d/Primary_Industry/index.cfm?newscat1=Chemical%20Services&newscat2=&header=1080%20Baiting%20Information. Please be assured that the short term use of 1080 to control the wild dog issues we are currently experiencing is a last resort only.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the Corporation’s wild dog control activities further, please call us on 8939 2200, email us at office@ncl.net.au or drop by our information stall at the markets this Saturday (9am-12pm).

Angela MacMillan (CEO)