The owners of Shenstone Farm, which remains under siege by feral dogs, hope a public meeting at Pukenui tomorrow will spur authorities to act before more stock is killed or a person is attacked.
John and Anne-Marie Nilsson began mounting all-night vigils for the last four weeks; as of last week packs of feral dogs had killed at least 136 lambs, ewes and goats, since June 30.
The dogs, which emerge mostly at night, are thought to live in neighbouring bush and scrubland.
The Nilsson family, helped by local farmers and hunters using rifles fitted with thermal scopes, have been to forced to guard their stock every night since then, Anne-Marie Nilsson saying last week that fatigue was taking its toll, but they had no choice.
''People ask us how long we'll keep going, but if we stop we'll have no stock in three days. They'd be ripped to bits. It's our farm, our livelihood, it's just what we do,'' she said.
The nocturnal vigils had kept losses down after the first few horrific nights, but even as Nilsson was speaking she found another dead goat, one of her teenage daughter's angora herd. It had been two weeks away from having kids.
Earlier in the day she had to put down another lamb that was not recovering from its injuries, despite the efforts of a vet and a foster family.
''So it's all pretty heart wrenching,'' she said.
Nilsson was pinning her hopes on a public meeting at the Houhora Big Game and Sports Fishing Club tomorrow, starting at 10am. The Northland Regional Council, Far North District Council, MPI and DOC were expected to be represented, and a Zoom facility would be set up for anyone who couldn't attend in person.
There would also be a public forum so anyone who wanted to speak could do so.
Nilsson hoped the authorities would at least acknowledge there was problem. Feral dogs were not currently recognised as pests in the regional council's pest management plan, which limited what other agencies could do.
The district council, for example, could only trap dogs and destroy them if they were unclaimed after nine days.
''We need these dogs recognised as a super-predator, rather than just as a stray dogs issue," she said.
So far the agencies involved had been ''dancing around the issue.''
''Even if one jumped up and bit them on the arse they'd still say there are no dogs," she added.
The dogs had proved hard to shoot, recent poor weather giving them extra cover. At least three had been shot on the farm, however, along with two, one fatally, that threatened mussel spat collectors on nearby 90 Mile Beach.
■ A family friend has set up a Givealittle page to help the Nilssons pay vet and feed bills relating to the attacks. Go to givealittle.co.nz/cause/help-northland-farmers-defend-their-farm-against to donate. As of last week just under $2000 had been given.