BACK in the 1990s I unwittingly became a public interest discloser — a public servant branded as ‘a whistleblower’. You can read all about in Bill De Mara’s book — Deadly Disclosures published by Wakefield Press in 1999.

This was a difficult period of my life because some malicious rumours about me were then circulated. Their aim was to alienate me from my work mates and clients; to damage me personally and my professional standing. The rumours spread like wild fire. I remember casually walking into the busy tea room one day and the room fell silent; it then emptied out completely. I didn’t understand what had happened, but I knew it had to do with me. Several weeks after I was dismissed from my job a good friend gathered up enough courage to tell me what rumours were being put about.

It shocked me but now I understood the reaction of others toward me. It definitely had the desired effect and the revelation nearly overwhelmed me psychologically. I nearly gave up everything I believed in. 

Luckily I had many good people who supported me during those dark times. At the time I recall a conversation I had with a friend. It was one of those surreal moments when clarity of understanding comes out of simple conversation My friend was a country Tasmanian bushie and he’d seen similar sorts of shenanigans in various guises all through his life.

He was a good listener and a story-teller. Unexpectedly he asked me what I knew about sheep mauling. It took me by surprise because I was totally focussed on what was happening to me. I was the one being mauled and all he wanted to do was to chat about sheep! I recall giving a pretty colourless and factual description on this behaviour from my limited experience as a vet and a pathologist — about it occurring on remote sheep runs; its links to wild dogs & dingoes attacking with stealth and cunning under cover of darkness; repeatedly killing over several days, blah, blah , blah …  I banged on. 

A wry smile came across my friend’s face and he had a different version of how dogs maul and kill sheep. From his experience this could happen much closer to home than I was giving credit. In Tasmania it wasn’t the wild dog or the free-ranging dingo that was the commonest culprit; it was more than likely the domesticated dog with the cunning to live a double life. These dogs usually came from hobby farms in semi-rural areas. Just one uncontrolled dog allowed free rein could run amuck on neighbouring sheep properties and turn up home as placid as you please for a feed and pat from their unsuspecting owners.

But, the real trouble with these dogs was their capacity to involve other local dogs in their antics. The local mutts would join in on the chase and the chance to maul. That one attack dog could encourage a pack of hangers-on — all manner of local bitsas — short legged terriers, sausage dogs and even old family pets.

And then came his punch line. “See Dave, it just takes one dominant dog to teach others to join in.”

The penny dropped.

That animal instinct of joining in to attack, to wound and to destroy was up close and personal.

Today in Tasmania who will be the victim or victims of a public or private mauling? Who is will be the dominant ‘dog’? And who will form ‘the pack’?
 

 

David Obendorf

This was a difficult period of my life because some malicious rumours about me were then circulated. Their aim was to alienate me from my work mates and clients; to damage me personally and my professional standing. The rumours spread like wild fire. I remember casually walking into the busy tea room one day and the room fell silent; it then emptied out completely. I didn’t understand what had happened, but I knew it had to do with me. Several weeks after I was dismissed from my job a good friend gathered up enough courage to tell me what rumours were being put about.