LEARNING MORE: The Payne Family – Declan, Mel, Kacia and Bradd with Zoey.Dog attacks on koalas are one of three main causes for the ongoing decline in our local koala population, and the project aims to reduce these attacks through specialist training as part of the 12month pilot.
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Renowned dog trainer, Steve Austin has been engaged by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council to share his knowledge and trainup to eightlocally-based dog trainers. This transfer of knowledge, which uses wildlife protectionprinciples, will provide invaluable insights that may be implemented into ongoing local training andeducation programs.

“Council takes the protection of our local koala population extremely seriously, and the trial programis yet another initiative we are undertaking to protect one of our most loved icons,” said a council director Matt Rogers.

“For the trial to be meaningful we are looking for up to 32 puppies and 16 known problem dogs to betrained, and encourage local dog owners to express their interest.”

The Payne family of Port Macquarie, who are owners of nine-month-old staffy ‘Zoey’ are keen toparticipate in the training program.

“It’s a great initiative because when we’re going for walks we often see koalas, and as a family webelieve in looking after our local koala population,” said Bradd Payne.

“Zoey has already attended puppy pre-school, however it would be good to get some training todesensitise her so that we can be confident when we’re walking her she’s not going to bail up or hurta koala.”

There are a number of pet ownership behaviours that are encouraged, including keeping dogs onleads while in public reserves, tying up dogs in yards at night and encouraging kids to get involved inprograms that are run at school.

“Council will be contacting dog-owners in areas where attacks are known to be an issue, and will alsobe inviting owners of known ‘problem dogs’ to participate in the program,” Mr Rogers said.

Training is expected to commence in April, and dog owners can express their interest throughCouncils website at pmhc.nsw.gov419论坛/koalatraining, by dropping into any council office or by calling6581 8111.

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