Farmers forced to quit sheep

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian

Kalannie farmer Robin Hester believes it is only a matter of time before wild dogs reach Perth.

He said local farmers were doing their best to hold back the pack with a huge baiting program, but it was time to introduce a bounty.

"If we don't do something more about it out here, sooner or later the dogs will be in the Darling Range and then there will be hell to play," he said.

"Hobby farmers will start getting hit and there is always a chance cross-breed dogs will attack a person."

Mr Hester's farm on the edge of pastoral country about 250km north of Perth is under siege from wild dogs and neighbours have given up sheep farming.

"One neighbour said he was waking up every morning not knowing what he was going to find, so it has a psychological toll," he said. "If you lose a ewe worth about $70 with a lamb worth another $70 it quickly multiplies into big financial losses."

Mr Hester, 70, noticed an explosion in wild dog numbers about 20 months ago.

"We all started to get hit," he said. "A neighbour had 150 sheep attacked in a few months and other neighbours had 50 to 60 sheep attacked."

About 30 farmers formed a group to put out more than 4000 baits every few months and employ a dogger. There is also a Government dogger in the area.

Mr Hester said the bounty was needed to use with other control measures.

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