Feral dogs feared

A Cockatoo family has been left shaken after their Border Collie was viciously attacked by a pack of stray dogs on Monday 13 January.

By Jessica Anstice

A Cockatoo family has been left shaken after their Border Collie was viciously attacked by a pack of stray dogs on Monday 13 January.

Nine-year-old Grizzly was savagely attacked about 9pm, when he ran into a big bush on his owner Aukje Van Vark’s 27-acre property along with her two other Border Collie’s.

A few minutes later two other Border Collie’s returned back to the house, Grizzly failing to.

“Grizzly is our working dog so it was strange that we didn’t see him,” Ms Van Vark recalled.

“Later that night he came to us and he was very quiet which was odd because he never stops, so we though ‘oh, that’s weird’.

“My husband noticed blood dripping on the ground and his whole bottom was wet with blood.

“The skin was pulled off his body.”

After quickly examining Grizzly’s body, Ms Van Vark discovered multiple severe puncture wounds and rushed him to Avonsleigh Veterinary Clinic, where he was instantly given antibiotics.

The following day, Grizzly underwent a four-hour surgery with multiple vets.

Ms Van Vark said the vet was fearful of Grizzly dying due to the shock, while stating he had never seen anything “this bad”.

“The vet said he was attacked by more than one dog – he knows the kind of wound was caused by dogs,” she explained.

“We know that there are deer, Kangaroos and quite a few other wild animals on our property but the vet said the wounds are consistent with a dog and there would have been more than one because they’ve pulled him.

“We didn’t see it happen but we’ll just go by what the vet said – he was sure.”

She has reported the incident to Cardinia Shire Council, which was already aware of the issue.

“Council has recently been notified that a domestic dog may have been attacked by wild dogs and the matter is being investigated,” Cardinia Shire Council’s infrastructure and environment general manager Peter Benazic said.

“In the past, Council has been alerted to reported wild dog sightings in Cockatoo and the possibility these may have attacked livestock.

“In such instances, Council has worked with residents to gather any information and referred these matters to the responsible authority, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), who manage reports of wild animals.”

Although Grizzly is on the road to recovery, Cockatoo and Emerald residents are growingly concerned of the alleged pack of stray dogs.

“I have only really had one or two encounters with them on the family property around Gembrook – they are of German Shepard appearance,” Gembrook resident Luke Credden said.

“The feedback I have had through messages etc on Facebook is that they are a pretty serious problem and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

“From what I hear there are a number of people trying to track them and remove them, but they are smart. After all, wild or not, they are dogs and aren’t silly.”

Acknowledging his concern for the safety of his livestock, Mr Credden said his biggest worry is around the danger they could impose on young children.

“I have three young kids that enjoy the outdoors and spending time on the farm,” he said.

“The thought of these dogs posing a threat is frightening.

“My takeaway from this all would be that the councils/government should probably have a look at this as a serious issue. While there are more pressing issues around at the moment, this shouldn’t be overlooked.”


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