Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Heathcote man mutilated by roo

Mick Hingston was trying to save his dogs from a 2m kangaroo but he needed rescuing when it turned on him.

BARBARA SUNGAILA April 8, 2014 9:46am

Mick Hingston stands on the spot in his backyard where he was attacked. Photo: Barbara Sungaila

Heathcote resident Mick Hingston is recovering after a frightening kangaroo attack last Monday.

The 73-year-old underwent surgery to rebuild his ear and his injuries also included bruising and cuts to his head, back and arms.

Mr Hingston said the animal was first seen in a dam just over 50m from his house on Saturday, and it returned two days later.

‘‘On Monday the dogs were barking fairly early in the morning, about 8 o’clock or so,’’ he said.

‘‘I though ‘Now what’s going on?’ and I realised this big kangaroo had come back again and it was in the dam and the two dogs were challenging it in the dam.’’

Mr Hingston called his neighbours for help and went to the edge of the dam to rescue his dogs.

As he stood watching the kangaroo, it turned and came towards him.

‘‘He came out of the dam and next minute we were eye to eye and then he was on the high side and I was on the flat side looking up to him,’’ Mr Hingston said.

‘‘ He was blind in one eye.

‘‘I could see the movement of him and I thought ‘I’m in trouble here’.

‘‘And next minute he came at me. Big claws came out like so. He came at me and I stumbled.

‘‘I went to the ground, and as I was going down I felt this swoosh and I thought ‘That hurt’ and next minute he was on top of me.’’

Fortunately for Mr Hingston his neighbour Dave White frightened off the kangaroo then took Mr Hingston to Heathcote hospital because his ear was badly damaged.

‘‘They worked on me for some period of time,’’ Mr Hingston said.

‘‘They thought they may have been able to stitch (the ear) but when they realised all the cartilages were torn within the ear, they said ‘There’s a plastic surgeon now in at Bendigo and we’ll get the ambulance and we’ll take you in’.’’

Mr Hingston underwent surgery later the same day and was able to go home afterwards.

He is now recovering at home.

‘‘I am feeling relieved and grateful for the assistance given to me by so many people,’’ he said.

‘‘Firstly a big ‘thank you’ to my neighbours who helped me rescue my dogs from the dam and made sure I got to the hospital after I was attacked.

‘‘Many thanks also for the attention and treatment given by the medical and nursing staff at Heathcote hospital and the paramedics who took me to Bendigo hospital.

‘‘And everyone at Bendigo hospital treated me with thoughtfulness and skill and I am so grateful to the doctors who performed microsurgery on my ear.”

Heathcote Police Leading Senior Constable Jason Peers said it was the second kangaroo attack in two months that he was aware of.

‘‘Four to six weeks ago there was an aggressive roo in a backyard in Willow Rd, Heathcote,’’ he said.

‘‘It had taken ownership of the backyard and was starting to attack the owner’s dogs.

‘‘It got too brave and tried to get up the back steps.

‘‘It was a really aggressive male.’’

He said it attacked the resident and she suffered scratches to her back but was not seriously injured.

Leading Sen. Constable Peers said more kangaroos were venturing into backyards due to food shortages and they had the potential to be very dangerous — particularly older males that had been forced out of their mobs after losing their supremacy to younger males.

‘‘The best thing to do is to stay away from them,’’ he said.

The kangaroo that attacked Mr Hingston was a lone male estimated at over 2m in height.

Mr Hingston said he never wanted to repeat his encounter with the ‘‘old man roo’’.

‘‘I intend to stay well away from big roos in the future and hope that my experience will act as a deterrent to people who have kangaroos on their property,’’ he said.

Leading Sen. Constable Peers advised residents with kangaroos in their backyards to call council animal control if there was no immediate danger, but in an emergency they could call the police.

Animal control reports can be made to: City of Greater Bendigo on 54346000, Campaspe Shire on 1300666535 or Mitchell Shire on 57346200.

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