WARNING: Dog’s close call with shark in river
DOG-owners may want to be wary when letting their dogs swim in the Richmond River at The Spit in Ballina.
There have been reports this week of a near-miss shark attack on a dog which was having a paddle in the river at the popular off-leash area along Kingsford Smith Dr.
While local fisher Brett Hyde from Ballina Bait and Tackle had not heard of the incident, he said it "wouldn't surprise me".
He said there were likely to be plenty of bull sharks in the bottom end of the river as fish head to the lower reaches for the clean water as the remnants of the floodwaters flow downstream.
But he said sharks are regularly in the river and bull sharks in particular can be found well upstream in usual conditions.
Over the years, there have been other reports of dogs taken by sharks at the dog-walking area.
The NSW Department of Primary Industries SharkSmart app lists the tagged sharks recorded at Ballina's Lighthouse Beach right at the mouth of the river not far from The Spit.
Last weekend, there were 19 detections of tagged bull sharks at the beach ‒ though that is not an indication of the number of sharks.
That number has reduced, with six detections of bull sharks at Lighthouse Beach since Wednesday.
Surf Life Saving Far North Coast duty officer, Jimmy Keough, has previously said there are always sharks around the river mouth.
Bull sharks are known to not mind the dirty water, and the poor visibility as the remains of the floodwaters flow down the river mean the dangers lurking within the water can't be easily seen.
A spokesman for Ballina Shire Council said there had been no shark attacks on dogs at The Spit reported to the council.