Norma-Jean Caldwell and her 11-year-old son, Josh, with a pet ram which was killed.
Norma-Jean Caldwell and her 11-year-old son, Josh, with a pet ram which was killed. Alistair Brightman

Wild dogs may have killed pets

NORMA-JEAN Caldwell doesn’t want what happened to her family to happen to anyone else.

The Sunshine Acres woman made a grim discovery on Wednesday morning.

About 10 sheep, a goat and its two kids had all been killed by what she believes may have been wild dogs on the five acres of land neighbouring her property

The animals were owned by her and one of her neighbours. They had only recently been moved to the property.

“It was a shock to find them like that,” she said of the gruesome discovery.

Noticing the animals hadn’t touched their feed, she and her husband decided to have a look and found their bodies strewn around the property.

One pregnant sheep survived the carnage but Ms Caldwell is not holding out much hope for her – “she’s been bleeding from the nose,” she said.

“It’s horrible.”

One sheep in particular was special to the family.

The sheep was named Mary-Lou. She bonded with the kids and would sleep near the house, next to the family’s two dogs, before moving to the neighbouring block of land.

“The kids are really upset. There were a couple of sheep they were able to get close to. “It is a bit sad.”

The family’s cow has also disappeared from the paddock but Ms Caldwell is unsure how the one-year-old cow would have escaped.

It’s just one more blow for the Caldwells, who are now wondering how they will replace the animals they have lost.

Ms Caldwell spoke to her neighbours and, while they have not experienced any problems, she wants to warn others that there may be a dangerous pack of dogs around.

She also wants to encourage others to report the dogs if they see them.

“We’re not the only ones with animals in the area and I don’t want anyone else to go through what we have gone through.

“We need to keep an eye on each other out here, especially now this has gone on.”

Ms Caldwell’s biggest worry now is that the dogs will return.

With her children, dogs and several horses on the property, that is her worst-case scenario.

She is concerned about her children, who walk to the bus stop on the corner of their street to go to school. She does not know if it is still safe for them to do that.

Ms Caldwell is hoping the dogs will be caught before then, possibly with the use of traps.

She has enlisted the help of the Fraser Coast Regional Council to combat the dogs.

While it is the responsibility of landowners to control feral animals, the council’s vector control unit can help.

“When landowners report sightings we are able to see hot spots and help landowners design eradication programs and help with trapping programs,” Shane Kelly from the vector control unit said.

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