A DROVER whose borrowed working dog was stolen near Ebor the same day as two others near Inverell says he’s “definitely” worried about the danger of life on the road.
Ben Booth said it was the first time he’d had a dog taken, but he’d “lost heaps of dogs getting hit by vehicles”.
He said motorists risking lives was just about a daily occurrence, and he just wants people to drive to the conditions.
Mr Booth, who lives near Armidale, said he spent anywhere from three to 12 months with clients’ cattle on the long paddock.
This time he was with a mob of 350 angus cattle, trialling a kelpie bitch he was thinking of buying.
“I’d been using her all day and when I went to put the cows away, I tied her up for about an hour,” he said.
“When we came back, the dog was gone …
“I just felt really, really bad, because it wasn’t actually my dog; I hadn’t decided to buy her yet.
“I thought it was insane bad luck to have lost the dog within the day.”
Thanks to security footage from a nearby service station, the dog was able to be tracked down – to Victoria.
“They took dog all the way back to Melbourne; they said it was abandoned,” Mr Booth said.
“It was tied up next to our camp ... with heavy-duty chain – there was no chance it was abandoned.
“The only difference between it and any other rural dog: it was on the stock route and not in the neighbour’s backyard …
“They had to fly it back at their own expense.”
Mr Booth said he’d had “up towards a dozen” working dogs hit and killed by vehicles in the past six years.
“I had an incident here [on Monday] morning, where a guy went to overtake a caravan going through our mob of cattle and he’s noticed a cow right in front of the caravan, swerved to miss it, lost control and went right off the road,” he said.
“I don’t think they realise how unpredictable stock and animals are, and they’re just so busy in their lives that they’re not wanting to even slow down.
“You don’t have to stop most of the time, it’s just checking your speed and being aware something might step out in front of you, and driving at a speed you can actually react if it does.”
Mr Booth said he was “definitely worried for my own safety”.
“People see you putting out your signs in the morning and they don’t slow down,” he said.
“You think the majority of people would have people’s best interests at heart, but when you see people whiz past … you wonder.”