In less than twenty minutes, it was all over.
There had been no warning, no barking, nothing.
When South Grafton resident Trish Campbell heard her neighbour, Julie Charles yell out early in the morning on January 26, instantly, she knew something was wrong.
Racing outside, the two women witnessed four pig dogs, one wearing a red collar, hunt and kill two kangaroos which had been grazing as part of a mob in a gully close to homes in the Silverton Street vicinity.
One of the kangaroos was a female with a joey in her pouch.
Sadly, the joey also died as a result of the attack.
Angry and concerned by the size, viciousness and roaming behaviour of the canines, Ms Campbell and Ms Charles believe it is only a matter of time before an adult or a child are attacked, or worse, killed.
The women are also concerned the dogs are being purposefully let out and they are strongly urging pet owners to take responsibility for their animals and to ensure the public is kept safe.
“This is a residential area,” said Ms Campbell, who has lived in Peppermint Place for four years.
“Children often walk through the paddock where the kangaroos were killed, a lot of people use the area as a shortcut.
“The dogs have already attacked and killed wildlife, a person or a child could easily be next.
“It’s an accident waiting to happen.”
Horrified by what she had witnessed, Ms Campbell contacted Grafton Police, WIRES and Clarence Valley Council rangers and reported the attack.
A WIRES volunteer later confirmed there has been an increase in dog attacks on wildlife in that area of South Grafton since the beginning of the year.
Ms Campbell and Ms Charles said two of the dogs were black and appeared to be mixed breed, one was black and tan coloured and the other had a light brown, creamy coloured coat.
After seeing the dogs kill the female kangaroo and her joey, Ms Charles said she is concerned for the public and warns someone will get hurt if they encounter the same animals.
“They’re big dogs, the owners will be prosecuted if someone gets hurt by them,” she said.
“We want to send a warning to people who walk through that area and parents too because I often see a lot of kids in the gully.”
Ms Campbell suggested signs be erected to encourage people to keep their dogs on a lead and warn them wildlife often frequent the area.
Two days after the first fatal attack, the same dogs reappeared at Ms Campbell’s fence early in the morning after she let her cats outside.
“The dogs kept coming in and out of the paddock, chasing the kangaroos before they ended up feeding on the carcasses from the previous attack,” she said.
“We knew they were pig dogs because of how they hunted and herded the kangaroos, and they didn’t bark or make any noise.”
After taking several photos of the dogs, Ms Campbell contacted Grafton Police again.
Coffs/Clarence Police District Chief Inspector Joanne Reid said in a statement police have responded to several calls over the past few days in relation to dangerous dogs in the Peppermint Place, South Grafton area.
“Unfortunately, police have been unable to locate the dogs in question and there is no information as to where the dogs may have come from,” she said.
“We encourage the public to continue reporting any sightings of dogs that cause them concern, exercising caution when this occurs as well as notifying Clarence Valley Council rangers.”
Ms Campbell and Ms Charles are continuing to keep a lookout for the dogs and warn their neighbours and nearby residents in the surrounding area to be vigilant.
Anyone who finds distressed or injured wildlife is encouraged to contact WIRES on 1300 094 737.