Integrated wild dog control
In Victoria feral or wild populations of dog and dingo-dog hybrids (Canis lupus familiaris and canis lupus familiaris x canis lupis dingo) are declared established pest animals in Victoria.
Under the Catchment and Land Protection Act all landowners have a responsibility to prevent the spread of, and as far as possible eradicate, established pest animals from their land.
In Victoria, the Dingo (Canis lupus dingo) is a threatened species that has been listed as 'Threatened' under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and as a result is protected under the Wildlife Act 1975.
Note: Wild dogs and dingo dog hybrids will be referred to as wild dogs throughout this document.
Dingoes often occur in areas inhabited by wild dogs, appear morphologically similar to wild dogs and are extremely difficult to differentiate from wild dogs. This means that wild dog control programs have the potential to directly impact on Dingoes.
To allow for the protection and conservation of Dingoes in remote areas, as well as provide for the legal control of wild dogs, Dingoes have been declared unprotected under the Wildlife Act 1975 (except when kept in captivity) on: all private land in Victoria; public land within 3 km of any private land boundary within the 'shaded' areas in Figure 1; and public land within 3 km of a boundary of any land subject to perpetual lease under section 53 of the Lands Act 1958 within the 'shaded' areas in Figure 1.
Government commitment and focus area
This Government has committed to an effective wild dog program centred around community involvement, has made wild dog control a priority and supports affected landholders to reduce the impact of wild dogs. The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) is working proactively with managers of land bordering public land and with the community to reduce wild dog impacts on livestock. Landholders can participate in the management of wild dogs across the state by implementing integrated wild dog control measures on their property and by participating in community based programs and providing local knowledge and information to others undertaking control activities in their immediate area.
DEDJTR undertakes large scale 1080 poison programs on public land to protect neighboring properties, when wild dogs impact on livestock DEDJTR Wild Dog Controllers provide support and assistance to producers to deal with wild dog impacts.
How the focus area for wild dog management is determined
Losses of livestock due to wild dog attack are usually but not always confined to properties adjoining public land. The focus for wild dog management is protecting livestock by controlling wild dogs in the buffer zone between public and private land. Research shows that many wild dogs spend most of their time in tightly defended territories. Therefore, control of dogs in remote areas of public land distant from farm land is unlikely to reduce the impacts of wild dogs on livestock.
An integrated approach
DEDJTR advocates an integrated approach to managing wild dogs. The control program includes baiting, trapping, shooting, exclusion fencing, guardian animals, community based control activities and encouraging good animal husbandry practices to minimise impacts. DEDJTR also undertakes research to support the development of a strategic science based management program
A successful program requires a strategic and proactive approach where all land managers, the community and the Government work together to protect livestock from the impacts of wild dogs.
Report Wild Dog incidents to your local DEDJTR Senior Wild Dog Controller
Report Wild Dog Incidents to:
Corryong: Biggara, Nariel, Lucyvale, Cudgewa, Tintaldra, Walwa, Burrowye, Shelley, Mt. Alfred
0400 854 386
Tallangatta: Koetong, Granya, Tallangatta Valley, Mitta Valley, Sandy Creek, Gundowring
0409 188 465
Ovens: Myrtleford, Mt. Beauty, Beechworth, Yackandandah, King Valley
0427 538 708
Mansfield: Merrijig, Alexandra, Yea, Molesworth, Jamieson
0428 503 169
Bairnsdale: Dargo, Omeo, Swift's Creek
0418 539 406
Gelantipy: Orbost, Cann River, Bonang, Bendoc, Tubbut
0427 321 312
Ellinbank: Gembrook, Noojee, Heyfield, Licola, Maffra
0428 516 579
Points to remember
- Wild dog control is achieved efficiently and effectively through a combination of control measures implemented at a landscape scale using a community based approach
- Wild dogs are highly mobile and can travel up to 20km per night
- Wild dog control needs to be ongoing as wild dogs re-invade areas after successful control measures are applied.
- Take precautions to ensure your wild dog control program doesn't affect non target species including native wildlife.
- If control may result in any disturbance of native vegetation, culturally significant areas or waterways, you should contact the responsible authority being the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR), cultural heritage and/or Catchment Management Authority prior to works being conducted.
- If you are planning to use traps to control feral pigs: the trap specifications, trap checking times, provision of food, water and shade, and humane destruction of trapped feral pigs MUST be carried out in accordance with the requirements of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (POCTA) and associated regulations. Trapping has several animal welfare implications and anyone considering trapping should read important further information. Humane Vertebrate Pest Control
- If using chemicals to control wild dogs all applicable requirements of the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Control of Use) Act 1992 and Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Control of Use) Regulations 2007 must be met. This includes adhering to the Directions for Use of 1080 Pest Animal Bait Products in Victoria.
- and the chemical label, keeping the relevant chemical use records and only using 'restricted use chemicals' if you hold the required Agricultural Chemical User Permit or other relevant permit. Chemical use record sheets and further information regarding agricultural chemical use can be found on the DEDJTR website on the Agricultural Chemical Use page.
Planning your program
Planning can maximise the effectiveness of wild dog control while minimising damage to other animals. Consider the locality in which the wild dogs are living as this will determine what action is appropriate. The following steps will help in planning.
1. Work together
Wild dogs are highly mobile, widely distributed with the ability to quickly move throughout an area, control is rarely effective if carried out in isolation. A group of landholders tackling the whole problem in a simultaneous and coordinated manner will be more successful than isolated individuals tackling only part of the problem. Control programs are most effective when conducted on a co-ordinated landholder group or district wide basis in order to maximise long-term wild dog control. Wild dogs don't respect any boundaries so the managers of all land tenures need to participate to develop and implement a successful ongoing control program.
2. Conduct monitoring
Remote sensing cameras are a useful tool to determine the presence, identity, number and activity patterns of suspected wild dogs. Remote sensing cameras can distinguish between wild dogs and domestic dogs at large allowing the manager to determine appropriate controls.
Set up remote sensing cameras at sites such as at water points, holes in fences, bone yards or game trails where you suspect wild dog activity.
Information from monitoring can be used to determine baiting rates (in accordance with label instructions), the number of traps required and the suitability of trap or bait sites.
Ongoing monitoring at known wild dog activity sites can help to detect and manage wild dogs before they become a problem. For example wild dogs may visit a bone yard before they kill stock, if you can detect there presence you will have a better chance of minimising wild dog impacts.
Information from remote sensing cameras can be used to help reduce off target damage for bait and trap sites but providing information on what other species may visit a site, allowing the manager to adjust control measures accordingly. Off target damage can also be reduced by limiting baiting periods to times when wild dogs are known to be active at a particular site.
3. Bait type
1080 wild dog baits registered for use in Victoria may be shelf stable manufactured baits or fresh meat baits . Shelf stable baits can be stored for longer and have a greater maximum period for placement and are easier to use than fresh meat baits. Both shelf stable and fresh meat baits effectively control wild dogs.
4. Bait rate
Use local knowledge and the results of monitoring to determine the optimal baiting rate in your area. When determining baiting rates, always refer to the product label and Directions for Use of 1080 Pest Animal Bait Products in Victoria.
5. When to bait
- If you have limited resources the most effective time to bait wild dogs is during Autumn to coincide with the mating season when wild dogs are actively travelling to seek mates and during Spring when juvenile wild dogs can be targeted more easily.
- To reduce the wild dog population in the long term (to control wild dog impacts across the whole year), ongoing baiting must be carried out at the landscape scale.
6. Where to bait
- Baits distributed throughout the property in locations of known wild dog movement will provide optimum opportunity for baits to be taken.
- Areas favourable to wild dog movement include vehicle tracks, fence and creek lines, gullies and ridges, contour banks, vegetation borders, watering points and bone yards (remember to follow the Distance Restrictions from the Directions for Use for 1080 Pest Animal Bait Products in Victoria)
- Wild dog baits must be buried as per Directions for Use for 1080 Pest Animal Bait Products in Victoria to reduce the likelihood of off target damage.
Remember: The larger the area baited, the greater the protection and the longer it takes for wild dogs to reach the core area you wish to protect.
Wild dog trapping is labour intensive and requires a higher skill level to successfully trap highly intelligent wild dogs. The use of traps must comply with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTA) and its regulations. Trapping has several animal welfare implications and anyone considering trapping should read important further information. Humane Vertebrate Pest Control
Trapping can form an important part of an integrated control program especially when used in combination with other control measures.
While shooting is the most target specific form of wild dog control, hunting does not provide long term, broad scale wild dog control due to the difficulty of undertaking it at a large scale in an ongoing manner. Shooting is labour intensive and requires a high skill level. Shooting has a role removing a "problem" dog from an area and in supporting other control techniques in an integrated management approach.
The use of firearms to control wild dog must conform to relevant firearm legislation and be integrated with other control methods.
Many farmers believe that electric exclusion fencing, if well built and well maintained, provides an effective 'first line of defence' against wild dog predation of livestock.
Livestock protection can be further enhanced if electric exclusion fencing is backed up by lethal control methods such as trapping, poisoning and shooting. An even higher level of protection can be achieved if adjoining landholders work together to build and maintain contiguous community electric exclusion fences.
For details on how to construct wild dog exclusion fencing please follow the link to Wild Dog exclusion fencing in Eastern Victoria
Carcasses of stock, pest animals, deer and native animals should be buried or burnt to prevent wild dogs feeding on them. The presence of carcasses may attract wild dogs onto your property and provide a plentiful food source allowing wild dog populations to increase and remain in your area.
Small lambing paddocks should be used to allow easier monitoring of the flock and reduce the chances of young lambs or kids being left unattended a long way from their mothers. Lambing paddocks sited close to the house are also easier to check frequently. Shed lambing can be a practical means of preventing wild dog predation on small flocks of valuable animals. Primary producers can reduce the impacts of wild dog on lambing by coordinating lambing times with their neighbours ensuring that vulnerable lambs are exposed for the shortest possible timeframe within a given area.
Some producers have successfully used trained guard dogs (eg. Anatolian shepherds, Maremma sheep dogs) to protect their flocks from wild dog predation.
The advice provided in this publication is intended as a source of information only. Always read the label before using any of the products mentioned. The State of Victoria and its employees do not guarantee that the publication is without flaw of any kind or is wholly appropriate for your particular purposes and therefore disclaims all liability for any error, loss or other consequence which may arise from you relying on any information in this publication.