FIFTH generation grazier Michael Knuth has seen first hand the impact wild dogs are having on farming families in the Charters Towers region.
Micheal, partner Jodie Pollock and kids Shaun, 15 and Hannah, 10 own Victoria Downs Station about 70km south of Charters Towers.
They bought the 25,900 hectare station almost five years ago, in August 2013 and run about 4000 head of beef cattle.
The herd of Brahman and Brahman cross are bred mainly for the live export market.
Michael said wild dogs were a major issue in the region, and said he feared it was only getting worse.
“I'm a fifth generation grazier, so I’ve been around dogs my whole life, working dogs and dingoes or wild dog now, I’ve seen first hand what they can do, they’re a very cruel animal,” Michael said.
“They hunt just for fun a lot of times.”
Michael said a flock of sheep on the station he owned previously, Rocky Downs, about 30km south of Victoria Downs, had been torn apart by wild dogs.
“Until six months ago we had sheep here too, and our other place we had them attacked one night, they got 12 in one night.
“One dog killed 12, but the worst part was he didn't kill them clean, I had to shoot five, he just bit them and they were buggered.
“There was dead sheep everywhere and it ended up being 12 and I only had 50.”
Michael said he used Maremma dogs to protect his 90 sheep at Victoria Downs, but he let them go with the flock.
Michael said his cattle were also vulnerable to dog attacks, and estimated he’d see at least 20 bites a year.
“Every time I do a brand round if I don't see two or three bites from wild dogs I’d be surprised.
“You’ve got to be very careful when you do see that, if you find a calf bitten you make sure you have not cut it, if its been bitten by a dog, it's got blood poisoning from the bites.
“You've got to… sterilise everything, or you'll blood poison your whole herd, you might lose 20-30 calves, whatever you've cut that day, which is big money.”
Michael said wild dogs impacted graziers in the region pretty heavily.
“I'd get up to 20 bites a year that I know of and see directly.
“I’ve got a little fella in here, I’d just pulled him off his mum and the dog chewed his ear off.
“It definitely ain't getting any better.
“The thing people seem to forget is we’re trying to feed the country.
“We lose one calf and that's one we're not going to make money off and people aren't going to be fed... it's a flow on effect and you get a bit cranky.”