GINA Ferguson has lost four beloved family members in the space of two years and is now desperate for something to be done.
Gina, who breeds miniature fox-terriers, lost two of her beloved ‘stud males’ to a vicious attack from feral dogs two years ago and last Saturday her male Rottweiler was taken.
The feral dogs roam the scrub and National Park surrounding around her 25 acre Coomba Park property.
“They came right up here to the back patio and just tore them apart,” Gina recalls of the attack two years ago.
One of her females, Nee Nee, survived but still bears scars and has been “a nervous wreck” ever since. 12 months ago she lost yet another of her male fox-terriers to a similar attack but her concern has risen dramatically after the Rottweiler was taken.
“He was docile friendly thing, but a big strong dog and if they can take a Rottweiler they can take a child.”
Gina says her property on Coomba Road is in the centre of a hotspot for wild dogs, that she regularly sees roaming the area, including the nearby pre-school.
“Early in the morning and right on dusk you see them, you can’t mistake them, they’re big ugly ginger things. There’s more of them now, you can tell by their droppings because they’re full of feathers and bones and people have seen puppies running around.
“The pack’s getting bigger and they’re learning how to hunt.”
Gina’s neighbours Gloria and John Bennett, in their 70s, have also been affected.
“I used to go on my morning walk around our place but not anymore, I’m too scared,” Gloria said.
“I see their droppings everywhere and we’ve got a lot of long grass around. I have to go out and switch our water pump on and I’m nervous to even do that. I don’t want to feel like a prisoner in my own home.”
Gina said that an officer from the Gaming Council of NSW visited her following the initial attack two years ago and laid some traps and a spokesman for the Gaming Council expressed concern at the fresh reports when contacted last week.
“Game Council NSW was extremely concerned to hear about this incident, and has immediately referred it to the responsible authorities for further action,” the spokesman said. “The principal authority in this situation, as it involves a private property, is the local Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA). However, as the property also borders a National Park, Game Council has also alerted the land manager, Office of Environment and Heritage.” Ranger for the LHPA Mid Coast region Laurie Mullen visited Gina on Monday to look at her options. “This is breeding season for wild dogs and that can make them quite aggressive,” Laurie said. “We’re getting towards the end of that season now and we’re looking at a group baiting program.” The baiting program will require the blessing of several adjoining land holders. “I can see up to 25 neighbours in that area that would need to be notified and give permission before we can lay out baits, but once we’ve gone through those processes we can go ahead with the program to tackle what can be a serious problem.” Area Manager for the Great Lakes National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), Stephen Smith was unaware of any attacks but said NPWS would happily participate in a cooperative program to address the issue “This is the first we’ve heard of any attacks, but it is a concern. We are basically in the same position as private landowners when it comes to feral animals and would happily participate with other landholders in any cooperative effort to tackle this problem.” Gina was more at ease following the visit and hopes that the problem can be tackled quickly. “I just don’t want to see a situation where we are mourning the loss of a child because the problem couldn’t be fixed.”