Dog problem ensures farmers remain vigilant

Phillip Ried has one less wild dog to worry about after shooting this one on Sunday. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN

Phillip Ried has one less wild dog to worry about after shooting this one on Sunday. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN

TALLANGATTA Valley farmer Phillip Ried has a constant reminder of his need to be vigilant to protect his sheep.

Howling from wild dogs is regularly heard in various locations around his farm on Left Hand Road across Tallangatta Creek.

When the howling is heard, Mr Ried knows it is only a matter of time before attacks start.

That has been the case in recent weeks, with the loss of 10 to 12 lambs.

But Mr Ried caught up with the culprit early on Sunday morning and a high-powered rifle made short work of the big yellow killer.

“He was a fairly large dog. He was fat, living on lamb,” Mr Ried said.

He marked more than 200 lambs on Saturday, but acknowledged there should have been “a few more”.

Mr Ried keeps his sheep and lambs in a paddock close to his house and has an electric fence around most of the property.

There is one section at the back of the farm which is not electrified and the dog was getting under the netting.

When Mr Ried got home on Saturday night from a function, he could hear his sheep making a bit of noise.

It was about midnight when he rode his four-wheel motorbike up to check on them.

Then it was just on light when the sheep started bleating and his labrador barking.

Mr Ried got his rifle and walked to check on his flock, at first hiding behind a tree and then advancing closer behind another tree.

That was when he saw the wild dog walking along a track and shot it from about 80 metres when it stopped to look at him.

Mr Ried, like so many farmers in the valley, has continual problems with escalating wild dog numbers.

His nephew, Clint Ried, shot a dog the previous week, and two others were nearby.

The contract dogman, Ben Aalbers, also recently shot a dog at Brian Fraser’s nearby property.

There have been other dog attacks further up the valley near Stuart Morant’s farm.

Mr Morant said the Department of Environment and Primary Industries is now providing fresh meat baits for farmers to use in their efforts to curb wild dog numbers.

“It is a great positive compared to the manufactured baits previously used,” he said.

“As soon as the rain comes, the manufactured things just turn into mush.”

Mr Morant said the howling of the wild dogs could be heard right along the valley near farms.