They may look like an abandoned pet or be mistaken for a dingo, but authorities are warning people to stay away from the dangerous wild dogs.
Gympie Regional Council says wild dog sightings and attacks are on the rise
Under Queensland’s Biosecurity Act, wild dogs are a declared restricted species
Families and tourists are warned to keep their distance these September school holidays
Gympie, an hour north of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, has a wild dog problem.
As school holidays approach and tourists flock to the coast, Gympie Regional Council issued a blunt warning.
“Do not approach them … they can become aggressive very quickly, even though they look like they are friendly and tame,” biosecurity officer Bree Galbraith said.
“They will go right up to the beach — those dogs are feeding on the beaches themselves for shellfish, etc.”
The council said the number of wild dog sightings had increased on the outskirts of popular holiday destinations Tin Can Bay, Cooloola Cove, and Rainbow Beach as young pups learned to hunt.
“It sort of goes hand in hand with the time of the year and their breeding cycle … the adults training young ones,” Ms Galbraith said.
Forests around Gympie’s coastal fringe offered a comfortable habitat for the wild dogs, but landowners in rural areas were also being impacted, Ms Galbraith said.
“We are talking about stock being attacked and or killed by these animals,” she said.
“Often, they are maimed and left to die a nasty death.
“Farmers with sheep and goats are particularly at risk — wild dogs do love them, but also farmers who have calves on the ground, which also relates to this time of year.”
‘Pest’ needs to be removed
Under Queensland’s Biosecurity Act, wild dogs are a declared restricted species.
A Biosecurity Queensland spokesperson says local governments are required to minimize the risks associated with the invasive animal.
“We [will] work with state land management bodies to control those areas by physically trapping them and humanely euthanizing them,” Ms Galbraith said.
“They do not get transferred to somewhere else. That is a misnomer.
“They need to be removed—they are a pest.”
Ms Galbraith said she was concerned people could be misguided into thinking the wild dogs needed help.
“These animals are naturally lean, and they are not in need of our assistance,” she said.
“Wild dogs can look… [like] dingo … ginger, white tips on its feet … but we can have a pure black dog like what we know as a kelpie, multi-coloured, tricoloured, white with black points, so all variations.
“We did have a report of someone trying to stop on the side of the road to get this dog in the car, trying to lure it in with food … a well-meaning citizen who thought that that animal must have been dumped and thought it was a starving.
“A potential disastrous interaction could have occurred.”
People urged to report sighting
Campers along the Cooloola Cove, Rainbow Beach and Tin Can Bay areas were warned not to feed the wild dogs.
“Do not feed them. It is an offense against the legislation,” Ms Galbraith said.
“If you are camping, keep your food and your rubbish well and truly away.”
She also urged the public to report any sightings.
“Council will start to monitor more closely with cameras if the dogs’ behavior changes, so if people are having direct and dangerous interactions with those wild dogs,” Ms Galbraith said.
“In the rural sector, council will run a baiting program twice a year.
“Our next one is happening next month, so we encourage [landholders] to jump online and check it out.”