Saturday, May 26, 2012

Dogs Killing Wildlife

Wallabies and kangaroos have grazed safely on our property and the surrounding wetlands since we first moved here. Though I love dogs and cats, we don't have any because of the wildlife in our garden.

Earlier this month, I posted about local dog owners allowing their dogs to escape their gardens and roam our valley. These dogs have been chasing kangaroos, wallabies, and wildlife in our estate. So far we have found two dead wallabies and three dead joeys, and  who knows how many others there are in the surrounding forest and bush tracks. When chased, a wallaby or kangaroo will often throw their joey, which leaves the poor baby vulnerable to predators. Last weekend, this very thing happened in our garden.

Dog owners in our country estate were told to keep their dogs secured, but last week some dogs were out again, chasing the kangaroos and wallabies. The next morning, we noticed a little Red-necked wallaby, with a joey in her pouch. The mother wasn't eating any grass and was sitting in a funny position.

When we tried to get close to her, she hopped away. She'd lived in our garden for years and had had many joeys. We didn't know if she'd been injured by the dogs or something else, but we kept an eye on her so that if she died we could save the joey. She stayed in our yard and the next morning we found she still wasn't eating. The joey hopped out and bounced around, squeaking because he was hungry. Though we tried to capture him, he was way too fast, and when he got back in the pouch, the mother hopped into next-doors garden. See the video below.

We tried for many hour to capture the joey, and the mother, but they were way too fast. We noticed that the joey was having trouble getting back into the pouch, which was probably because the pouch had shrunk because the mother had had no food or water in her stomach. Now the joey wasn't only starving, but the sanctuary of his mother's pouch was becoming unavailable to him. He hopped around squeaking in a panic and my husband and I tried desperately to catch him with a sheet him. When I got down on the grass and pretended to be a wallaby, he hopped right up to my head, (as you can see in the above video), but before I could grab him, he bounced away again. My heart broke. The mother hopped underneath the neighbour's house and the joey followed her, and finally, he managed to squeeze into the pouch. Happy that the joey would be warm for the night, I placed a bowl of water and some oats and crushed weetbix under the house near the mother, hoping they would eat something or at least have a drink. It was already getting dark by then, so we decided to leave them in peace for the night. We didn't want them hopping into the forest because then we'd never be able to rescue the joey if the mother died.

I couldn't sleep much as I was wondering how I could rescue the joey. I knew the mother was getting weaker and thought it might be easier to grab her. As soon as it was light enough I went next-door, but the wallabies weren't under the neighbour's house. They'd gone. I desperately tried to find them and searched vacant blocks, long grass and woodlands, but I couldn't see them anywhere. It had been a very cold night and I knew that the joey wouldn't survive for long out of the pouch, especially with no food. I hadn't seen the joey eat any grass so he probably didn't have his teeth yet. Sadly, I tramped home, but searched again in the afternoon. I knew the mother couldn't have gone far because she would be too weak, so I did another search of the neighbour's property. The neighbour's weren't there, so I searched all over, trudging through the long grass. Then I found the mother wallaby. She was dead and lying on her belly. No way could the joey have got in the pouch to keep warm. The funny thing was, I had searched that area the day before, but I didn't see her then. I guessed that the body could have been dragged from another spot during the night by a predator. But where was the joey?

I searched for the joey all evening until it was too dark, but to no avail. I asked the local folks if they's seen it, but no one had. The father wallaby came and sat next to his dead wife and I hoped the joey would too, but he didn't. Sadly, I guessed the same predator that killed the mother had probably taken the joey. This broke my heart. We had been watching and filming this family of wallabies for years. Many of my blog posts have photos of these beautiful creatures.

We didn't bury the dead wallaby becasue we hoped there was a possibility that they joey would come back to its mother, as they do. I knew it was possible for a joey to survive for a few days without food, so I still hoped to save it. We've saved joeys before that have survived in their dead mother's pouch, though I knew if we did save this one, it would most likely have pneumonia from the cold.

But the next day I saw a large dog, dragging the dead wallaby across the grass. I lost all hope of ever rescuing the tiny joey then. I couldn't believe that these dogs were still roaming free after the owners were told of  the dead wildlife, and even today I saw a dog roaming at the bottom of our garden. Another neighbour told me she'd seen two large dogs in the paddocks yesterday.


These dog owners may think they love their pets and that they should be able to run around and have fun. Well, they can't love their dogs that much because one was hit by a car and killed a few weeks ago and another one has gone missing, probably gone bush or was also hit by a car. Are the owners thick? We live near a highway full of traffic and trucks, not to mention the idiots that speed in our estate even though the signs say 30 KPH, and sometimes our native animals get hit and killed by motor vehicles. There's also been quite a few dogs killed since we've been here, as well as ducks, wallabies, kangaroos and other animals. I have the flu now from getting a chill after searching for the joey in the cold night air, but at least I can wrap up warm in bed. Our wildlife can't, they just perish when they get a chill, and on land that is theirs, not pet dogs. The video below was filmed a few weeks ago and before the dogs got out. Now there are no wallabies or kangaroos anywhere near our garden, or in the surrounding areas and wetlands. They've moved to safer ground until the dogs are no longer here. It's a shame because it was so peaceful here for them. See our garden in the video below.

Please feel free to leave a comment.


  1. I cried after reading this. I'm so upset that the poor baby and mama died. How awful. I'm so sorry. Thanks for educating pet owners. All pet owners need to be responsible. I hope this never happens again. Thanks for sharing such a touching story that will hopefully make pet owners more responsible.

  2. Thanks Chrissy, tears come to my eyes every-time I look in my garden now because I couldn't save the joey or his mother. It's just too sad and could have been avoided. And to make things worse, I saw a big brown dog in the garden next-door this evening too. Will they never listen?

  3. Oh, this breaks my heart. I think it's great, though, that you were so willing to help.

  4. Breaks my hear too, Lindsey. I just wish those dog owners were more considerate of other animals. Thanks for visiting, Lindsey.

  5. I can't believe it, but those two dogs that killed the wallaby and her joey are back in my garden this morning to attack the new wallabies that have come to graze there. I'm so upset!!

    1. Hi Trish, it's some years later and I hope the wallabies have returned. The reason why the mum wallaby died could have been myopathy:
      We had dogs chasing wallabies here some years ago and despite the dead animals did not show any signs that they had been mauled by a dog, there were many casualties in that time. Most likely myopathy was the reason. Cheers, Ute

  6. Thank you for the comment, I have just googled myopathy, and yes that could have been the case, but we have also witnessed those dogs actually killing and eating the joeys, and of course if a wallaby does get myopathy, it is a long slow death. Poor things. I just wish people would keep their dogs on their own property and not let them out to kill native animals. But those type never learn. Here is a link to Myopathy in Wallabies:

  7. Thank you for the comment, I have just googled myopathy, and yes that could have been the case, but we have also witnessed those dogs actually killing and eating the joeys, and of course if a wallaby does get myopathy, it is a long slow death. Poor things. I just wish people would keep their dogs on their own property and not let them out to kill native animals. But those type never learn. Here is a link to Myopathy in Wallabies: