Information sought after seal is mauled to death by dog

A seal has been mauled to death by a dog on Seaspray Beach. Stock image

WITNESSES are being urged to come forward following the fatal mauling of a seal at Seaspray.
The Conservation Regulator is investigating after the seal was allegedly attacked by a border collie being walked off leash with another dog, and not under the control of its owners.
The badly injured seal died as a result of the attack, which happened at midday on Saturday, July on Seaspray Main Beach.
A person who was on the beach at the time reported that the dog jumped on the seal and bit it continuously until its owners were able to intervene.
The member of the public, who then reported the incident, said the couple who were walking the dogs ran quickly back to their car with their animals and left.
State government legislation mandates dogs at Seaspray Main Beach must be under control at all times, either on a lead or via command.
However, there has been concern in recent years that laws regarding off leash areas have not kept up with population growth and community expectations of regional towns.
Research from Agriculture Victoria shows 80 per cent of dog attack and menace incidents occur in public places as a result of animals not being adequately confined or under control.
Convenor of Maffra Responsible Dog Owners’ Group, Christos Iliopoulos, has called on authorities to step up and take “responsible action” to stop dog attacks across the shire.
While the law covering dogs on beaches is a Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning matter, Mr Iliopoulos said there was more which could be done at a local level, as not many dog owners had perfect recall of their dogs.
“There is no need to discuss this,” he said.
“Any law that allows dogs off leash if they are ‘under control’ is a stupid law — how can a dog not on a leash be under control?” he said.
“I’d like to see Wellington Shire take action here before another tragedy occurs.”
In addition to leash laws, in Victoria there are state-legislated rules and regulations in place to protect marine mammals.
Anyone who encounters seals must stay 30 metres away from them on beaches and five metres away from seals on man-made structures like boat ramps or piers.
Dogs are not permitted within 50 metres of seala, and it is illegal to feed seals – this includes discarding fish scraps into the water.
People are advised to dispose of scraps in bins at the harbour or take them home.
Seals are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975, and breaching these rules can attract penalties of up to $3304.
Anyone who witnessed the Seaspray incident should report it to Crime Stoppers Victoria on 1800 333 000 or DELWP on 136 186.
Sick, injured or distressed seals can be reported to the Melbourne Zoo Marine Response Unit on 1300 245 MRU (1300 245 678) or DELWP on 136 186.