Town dogs savage sheep

LETHAL dog attacks on three pet sheep at Rutherglen has left their owner traumatised and frightened the dogs will return for her alpacas.

One sheep was mauled to death on Friday.

And in another attack on Sunday, one had its face torn off and had to be destroyed and another was later found dead in a dam.

“It’s devastating, like losing a child in a way,” said Rosemarie Mason, who had bottle-reared the sheep, La Belle, Coco and Bubba.

“They were family — some people understand but others don’t.”

Ms Mason said dog owners must ensure they know where their animals are at all times and take responsibility for their behaviour.

“Domestic dogs are to blame, so it’s people being irresponsible,” she said.

“People think their dogs are at home but they are not. I am frightened they will return for my alpacas.

“I just hope someone might know something.”

The sheep and five alpacas had been kept at a friend’s Rutherglen-Springhurst Road property for eight months.

A neighbour, who did not want to be named, said people not locking up their dogs in the area was an ongoing problem.

“A resident had to compensate a farmer three months ago after a dog attacked a flock that resulted in three sheep being put down,” he said.

An Indigo council ranger who inspected the dead sheep agreed a domestic dog was responsible, saying a wild dog could not live in the terrain.

Rangers can issue $217 fines for roaming dogs, and owners can be heavily fined in court if their dog kills livestock.

Indigo’s enforcement services leader Nick McDonald said there would be more patrols. He also encouraged people to report any information on dogs.

“It comes down to responsible ownership — we go looking for dogs not secured and roaming around,” he said.

Corowa Veterinary Clinic owner Rowley Bennett said irresponsible owners were too often to blame for attacks.

“I hope this pricks the conscience of anyone who thinks their dogs were involved,” he said.

“I don’t have an issue with people owning dangerous dogs, but they need to be under constant surveillance.”

Rutherglen Sgt Brian Curran said police wanted people with information to contact them.

“People with dogs must ensure they are not out and about,” he said.

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