CQ family mourning pet dogs after 1080 baiting
IT was only a split-second moment when Ann Rowlands opened her door and her pups ran outside.
Mrs Rowlands and her husband, Marty, live on a cattle, sheep and goat property at Hamlet Downs in Barcaldine, and temporarily lost their two pups, Minnie-Mouse and Lola, earlier this week.
When the puppies were brought back inside, one of them began vomiting and Mr Rowlands immediately recognised the signs of 1080 bait poisoning.
"Within 10 minutes of them being inside, one of the dogs had a glassy look in her eyes. The other licked the side of her face," he said.
Mr Rowlands locked the sick pup in a cage but then heard screams from the other puppy.
"That's how strong the bait is. She only had to lick the other pup's face and she was poisoned too," he said.
"I got her downstairs because the bait makes them go mad and they take off. I saved the mother dog but her pups died. They were 12 months old and family pets.
"It's just lucky our kids weren't home."
This isn't the first time Mr Rowlands has lost a dog to 1080 bait.
He previously lost a maremma sheepdog, Sally, to the bait on his property and had to burn her body and the surrounding area, as well as shift the dirt to prevent it spreading to his other working dogs.
Two other dogs were also baited on his property, but unfortunately it was too difficult to prove.
Mr Rowlands had even caught a neighbour in the past throwing the bait over his fence, intentionally trying to poison his dogs.
"Every time the bait is put out, there are some wrong types of people getting it," Mr Rowland said.
"A mum was down town with her child and dog and when she turned away, a man baited the dog. The child could've died too."
Mr Rowlands said the poisoning was inhumane and the animals suffered "extreme agony" before death.
"It's a very deadly poison and is certainly not humane," he said.
"The dogs go mad. They're baring their teeth and growling and their eyes go glassy."
Mr Rowlands was dumb-founded as to how Minnie-Mouse and Lola had come into contact with the bait, but then discovered a nearby property had been using it.
"The neighbours are three-quarters of a kilometre away, and the crows will carry the bait - but they know not to eat it - up to 2km, probably more," he said.
"It came from over the road. They've got signs up that they're using the bait but they're supposed to notify neighbours and they didn't.
"We think it was carried by a tyre from the property, but we don't know."
Mr Rowlands is keeping his work dogs inside and the fear of further baiting is affecting his livelihood.
"Bait can last two years in an area, we have the other dogs locked in a cage now, we can't take the risk," he said.
"When I lived in Rolleston, they used the bait and you never saw any meat-eating animals (including birds and goannas) for 15 years because everything was wiped out.
"It kills anything that will eat it."
Mr Rowlands is also concerned for the welfare of their three-year-old daughter.
"The bait can take down cattle and three-year-olds put everything in their mouth," he said.
"I've always trapped and shot but there's a real stigma if you don't bait. Neighbours look down on you, especially back in the 1970s.
"We never used it but it's pushed even though it's not doing the job of getting rid of wild dogs.
"We know a trapper who trapped 200 dogs in four months. That tells you how well 1080 bait works. Grown dogs know not to eat it."
Mr Rowlands said people are reluctant to opt for more effective and humane means of culling wild dogs because of the cheapness of the bait.
"The government needs to get rid of the bait, make it bigger so crows can't carry it or put in rules that it can't be used within 2km of a boundary fence," he said.