Dogs fatally maul sheep

By Melanie Maeseele

WANDERING dogs have mauled to death a sheep at a Purga animal nursery, leaving behind a three-week-old lamb. Distraught and angered at the attack, nursery owner Gary Mullins said he was surprised when he heard dogs barking on his property about 7.30am yesterday.

"I was heading out when I heard the barks so I quickly snuck out the back to see what was going on, when I saw two dogs," said the owner of Mullins Family Entertainment, which has operated animal nurseries for more than 30 years.

Mr Mullins said he saw one dog in with the animals and another dog just outside the fully fenced 2023 sq.m enclosure.

"One dog was at the sheep when I came out of the house and I managed to catch the one that was outside first," he said.

Mr Mullins managed to chain both dogs to the fence of the enclosure but it was too late to save the sheep, which had been savagely attacked at the neck, tearing off its skin.

"I only bought the ewe and lamb about two weeks ago thinking they were perfect for my animal nursery," he said.

There was a good chance the three-week-old lamb would die because it was still feeding off its mother, Mr Mullins said.

"I will have to buy a bag of powdered milk and bottle feed it. Hopefully it will be okay," he said. Mr Mullins said he was surprised the domestic dogs, a Bull Arab cross Dane and a cattle cross pup, mauled only one sheep when there were eight other animals in the enclosure at the time.

"I guess it's just luck that I came out when I did, not good management," he said.

Devastated by the loss and the importance of the sheep in his animal nursery, Mr Mullins said he would have to buy another sheep before taking his nursery to McDonalds in Warwick ahead of their annual McHappy Day fundraiser next weekend.

"Sheep prices are so expensive these days. Surely the owners of the dogs will have to pay for the sheep," he said.

Mr Mullins, who has been living on his 16 hectare property for the past 20 years, said this was the first time one of his animals had been attacked by dogs.

Ipswich City Council's Health and Regulation Committee chairman Andrew Antoniolli said the dogs had been impounded and the attack was being investigated.

"Our officers are investigating the attack and there is obvious cause that one or both of the dogs were involved," Cr Antoniolli said.

"Council will complete a thorough investigation and a report should be finalised in two to three weeks time."

Cr Antoniolli said council was not allowed to seek compensation from the dog owners on behalf of Mr Mullins due to current state legislation.

"He is, however, entitled to seek compensation civilly through the court," he said.

Mr Antoniolli said attacks on stock in the region did happen from time to time but said they were generally wild dogs and only rarely involved domestic dogs.

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