Wild dog attacks woman cooking dinner in Cape York rainforest home


September 11, 2019 17:57:22

A woman is recovering in hospital after a wild dog burst into her Cape York house and attacked her as she cooked her dinner.

Lucy Friend, an environmental scientist who has been helping fight fires in the Iron Range rainforest, sustained injuries to her arms, hip, and leg while trying to fight off what is believed to have been a dingo.

She said that earlier in the evening she had seen the animal circling the house at the research station, which is surrounded by the rainforest.

“I was on my own at that point, finishing off some things for dinner, and it came in and started biting at the shoes,” she said.

“When I tried to shoo it off, it just completely changed posture, it came straight into the kitchen.”

The dog bit her on the thigh as Ms Friend hit it several times, trying to get it to let go.

The dog then bit her on the hip and other arm until a colleague in a nearby building heard her yelling and rushed to help, grabbing the dog and throwing it into the scrub.

Ms Friend is now recovering in Cairns Base Hospital where she is being treated for bruises and contusions.

Surprised by aggression

The Iron Range, which hosts a number of plants and animals found nowhere else in Australia, was hit by a cyclone earlier this year, leaving a trail of destruction many had never seen before.

As a result, piles of vegetation are lying out on the ground, with fire crews now struggling to contain a bushfire burning through the rainforest.

Ms Friend said the dingo’s behaviour was uncharacteristic and was potentially a sign the animals were struggling with habitat destruction.

“It looked very skinny, it didn’t look like it was in great shape,” she said.

“I do see dingoes and wild dogs fairly regularly in the bush and I’ve never known them to be aggressive.

“This is the first time I have seen a dingo even remotely aggressive so it was a surprise and it is uncharacteristic for them.

“I can only imagine that it was desperate [for food] and didn’t have any other option.”

Vet agrees attack unusual

Dr Ian Gunn, a veterinarian who has worked with dingoes across Australia agreed the attack was uncommon.

“Most attacks by dingoes [occur] when someone is running away from the dingo,” he said.

“A dingo perceives that as fodder or wants to play with that person but to attack someone within the house under those conditions is very rare.”

Dr Gunn said it was likely the dog was familiar with humans.

“Dingoes can come in various disguises and the only true way to determine whether it was a dingo is from a DNA analysis of a dingo,” he said.

“They can look like a domestic dog in some conditions or a domestic dog can look very similar to a dingo.”










First posted

September 11, 2019 17:47:16

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