WILD dogs are increasing attacks on sheep in Pokolbin, landholders and authorities say.
A meeting, open to residents from across the Hunter Valley, will be held today in Pokolbin to discuss the matter.
Cumberland Livestock Health and Pest Authority is planning a ‘‘co-ordinated effort’’ to control the problem.
‘‘We hope the meeting will encourage more landholders to join in co-ordinated control groups,’’ authority ranger Ben Serafin said.
Mr Serafin urged people to report any attacks, sightings, tracks or other evidence.
‘‘A proactive approach is critical, as it is much harder to eradicate wild dogs than prevent them establishing in an area,’’ he said.
Pokolbin resident Adam Elbourne said wild dogs had killed sheep on his property in the past few months.
‘‘We had 12 sheep and we’re down to six now,’’ Mr Elbourne said.
He did shoot dead a dingo-cross on his property, but others returned the next night in what he described as ‘‘a bit of a massacre right near our house’’.
He was concerned his thoroughbreds, including four foals, would become the next targets.
Mr Serafin said the problem was affecting several landholders in Pokolbin.
‘‘There’s been an increase in wild dog sightings and sheep attacks in the last six months,’’ he said.
Wild dogs were ‘‘not necessarily domesticated dogs gone wild’’.
‘‘It’s dingo crosses that have interbred with domestic dogs and dogs that have gone feral,’’ he said.
‘‘There’s always been dingoes around the area since it was settled.
‘‘A lot of people say they see wild pig-dogs, but in my experience it’s mainly dingo crosses who are born in the bush and have been out there a long time.’’
Mr Serafin said Pokolbin properties were probably part of territory that wild dogs naturally travel through.
Today’s meeting will be at Harrigan’s Irish Pub at 2pm.