Kangaroos and Dogs
The kangaroo doesn't have many natural predators. One of its biggest natural predators, the Tasmanian Tiger, is extinct. The early Europeans used to hunt kangaroos with dogs which might explain why wild kangaroos get very nervous when they sight a dog. However many wildlife carers who own dogs often report good relationships between kangaroos and pet dogs.
The Kangaroo Dog is or was a specifically Australian lurcher, bred by early settlers for the "sport" of kangaroo hunting. That was before they introduced the fox for hunting! It was not a pure breed of dog. Historically it was a cross bred variety, specifically designed to hunt kangaroos, originating from mixed breeding of Greyhounds, Scottish Deerhounds, Borzoi and other thoroughbred sighthounds as well as working dog breeds.
Kangaroos are good swimmers and if danger approaches, they won't be afraid to look for safety in the water and if a dog follows it into the water, the kangaroo can use its forepaws to hold the predator under water and drown it. There are many reliable reports of kangaroos killing dogs this way. At the same time, the photo below shows an injured kangaroo seeking shelter in pond.
This kangaroo has been injured by domestic dogs at Agnes Waters on the Central Queensland coast. It later died. The local Council has refused to take any action against dog owners who allow their dogs to stray.
In Agnes Waters, the dogs are often owned by miners from the nearby coal fields, and often are large and savage pigdogs. Residents are nervous that a child may be next!
If a kangaroo is chased by dogs, it will head for water if it can find some. Then when the dog or dogs swim out to it, the kangaroo pushes them underwater and often drowns them. If severely stressed it may develop Cardiac Myopathy, kind of like a heart attack.
Kangaroos also suffer from Capture Myopathy, from being chased or restrained, which is rapid muscle degeneration and often results in death. Once a dog has been "blooded" it will have the desire to repeats its actions. Unless the dog is enclosed in a suitable area, it will kill again. It's a certainty.
In some rural towns, drought has forced kangaroos into backyards and Parks, and increased the risk of human-dog-kangaroo conflict. In every State kangaroos are protected wildlife, and it is an offence to let a dog chase a kangaroo.
Kangaroos in Australia's capital Canberra have killed two dogs and injured one woman in the past week as they continue to multiply in numbers and desperately seek food and water in greener pastures, The Australian newspaper reported Friday.
Recently in Canberra a kangaroo held a struggling dog under water, and in sight of the dogs owner, until it drowned, and on the following Tuesday a woman was mauled by another kangaroo, the paper said. Another dog was also killed by a kangaroo this week, the paper said.
Kangaroo injuries from dog attack.
Some reports suggest kangaroos are becoming more aggressive, but in an article in the Canberra Times, Murray Evans, a wildlife ecologist at the government organization Environment A.C.T., disputes this, saying ''Kangaroos are wild animals and they do not get along well with dogs. If a dog chases a kangaroo and stirs it up, it will defend itself.''
In a recent letter to the Canberra Times, dog owner Christine said her pet had been drowned by a kangaroo in a city park. The dogs had been swimming when a large kangaroo appeared on the bank and entered the water, she said.The kangaroo "held her under the water with its back legs and drowned her as we watched helpless," Ms Canham wrote.
Kangaroos can weigh up to 90 kilograms (although its very rare to see one that size nowdays, the big ones have mostly been shot out) and grow as tall as an average man. Experts say they rarely attack humans, but because of the shortage of food could be more likely to stand their ground if disturbed.
Harassment by dogs can trigger mobs of frightened kangaroos to take to flight in the direction of nearby roads resulting in motor accidents. Stressed and disoriented kangaroos can also end up in suburban backyards where they can damage
property and injure themselves.
Some kangaroos, especially large male animals, will defend themselves, their offspring or their mates against dogs that harass them. There have been many cases where kangaroos have fatally injured dogs in such situations.
This photo shows a dead wallaby killed by domestic dogs at Agnes Waters. In spite of many complaints by local wildlife carers and concerned residents, the Council refuses to take any action against uncontrolled dogs. Some other rural Councils share the same bad attitude towards wildlife.
Wildlife experts suggest that if anyone is walking with a dog, and kangaroos appear, to quickly walk away away from the kangaroos with the dog.
However, a man whose dogs attacked a Western Grey Kangaroo in Anstey Hill Recreation Park (Victoria) was convictedtoday in Holden Hill Magistrates Court of interference, harassment and molestation of a protected animal. The dog owner was fined $750 plus costs. The manager of the Investigations and Compliance Unit of the Department for Environment and Heritage, Ms Hannah Dridan, said that the attack occurred on 26 August last year after the owner intentionally released his two Staffordshire Bull Terriers off their leads in the park.
“The Western Grey Kangaroo died as a result of the injuries inflicted,” Ms Dridan said. “I would like to thank the community members who brought this matter to the attention of National Parks and Wildlife and offered witness statements. “The attack took place in full view of children in the park. Fortunately, the children were not attacked.”
The only reliably documented case of a fatality from a kangaroo attack occurred in New South Wales, in 1936. Apparently a hunter was killed when he tried to rescue his two dogs from a heated fight with a kangaroo.
Another website about dogs attacking kangaroos can be found