Wild dogs run amok

Kate MatthewsCountryman

The last eight months at Pullagaroo station has been nothing short of a nightmare for Graeme Newton and Janet Winter because of wild dogs.

They purchased the station four years ago and are now being forced to sell by their bank.

Janet estimates they have lost 90 per cent of their sheep and there are now just three adults and a lamb left.

Goat numbers have also been reduced to fewer than 300 and the wild dogs, showing no fear, also attacked a foal, just 20 metres from the homestead.

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"It's a horrible situation and we aren't the only ones," Janet said.

"It's having a terrible impact."

Absentee landowners are part of the problem as well as a desperate need for more doggers.

While Janet and Graeme don't want to sell the station, the impact of the dogs is affecting the property's marketability.

To earn income elsewhere, Graeme has a job working 200 days a year as a dogger, covering a staggering 700,000 ha.

"It's practically impossible to sell and no-one is interested except by those offering ridiculous prices," Janet said.

The 78,000ha station was purchased for $600,000 and they have been offered a mere $100,000 by a prospective buyer.

"The problem is the dogs have destroyed us financially and we are no longer getting an income from the station," Janet said.

When they bought the station, there was limited stock so they mustered and introduced Dorper rams to mate with Merino ewes.

The joy of the first major rain of 170mm in February 2008, shortly turned sour when the dogs came in droves.

"We just need more doggers," Janet said.

"People can't make a living while the dog numbers keep increasing."

This year Janet has trapped more than 12 dogs.

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