The Northern Territory Coroner says it has taken the deaths of two men for agencies to deal with packs of dangerous wild dogs that roam Alice Springs town camps.
The Coroner Greg Cavanagh has handed down his findings into the deaths of the men at the Hidden Valley Town Camp
He found 26-year-old Michael Anthony Hardy died in July 2008 of acute asphyxiation while being attacked by a pack of dogs.
Mr Cavanagh heard from various witnesses who discovered Mr Hardy’s body after the “sustained attack” by “a number of dogs”.
“There is no doubt that it would have been a most horrifying experience for anyone, particularly given the extremely serious injuries that he received,” Mr Cavanagh said.
“[One witness] described the body as naked and having a large chunk out of the leg.”
Detective Sergeant Leith Phillips told the coroner there was “not an ounce of flesh from his knee to his hip on one leg”, and “the deceased had lost part of his scrotum”.
An autopsy report showed Mr Hardy had a blood alcohol level of 0.224% and had “hundreds” of abrasions over his body.
“There is no doubt in my mind that this would have been a terrifying attack and a terrible way for the deceased to have spent the last moments of his life,” Mr Cavanagh said.
Father-of-two, Robert James Roe, 47, was attacked in the same camp a month later.
The coroner heard he died from a heart attack, and although there were severe injuries to his skin and limbs, there was no evidence to indicate that those injuries occurred prior to his death.
“It is very clear that his body was, shortly after his death, attacked and eaten by dogs, which is a serious and tragic matter indeed,” Mr Cavanagh said.
Both men died in open areas of the camp.
Mr Cavanagh found that dog control was the responsibility of the Alice Springs Town Council, but their efforts had been hampered by the cultural rules imposed by the Tangentyere Aboriginal Council restricting access to the town camps.
Mr Cavanagh said that restriction had now been resolved, and dog control had improved in the camps.
He urged the Federal government to extend its funding for dog control.