Farmers have urged for tighter dog control and stricter laws to hold owners accountable after four sheep were savagely killed in a dog attack last night.
Roy Byrne, owner of the farm in Kilcoole, Co Wicklow said that a further three sheep were heavily injured, and expects two of them to be put down today.
The attack will cost Mr Byrne €200 per sheep lost, and will have a serious knock-on effect for the farm.
“The brutal attack has scared the rest of my flock, which will cause some of them to abort their lambs due to fear. I’m also forced to take my sheep off rented land in fear of another attack, which makes that land useless now”, Mr Byrne said.
“Up until this year we’ve had no attacks, but out of nowhere its started up again” he continued. “The issue is negligence from dog-owners, and even when we catch the dogs the owners often refuse to accept their dog would kill”.
Attacks have also occurred in other parts of the country, with 13 sheep being killed in Co Louth over Christmas, while 12 sheep were killed in Kilkenny in November.
IFA National Sheep Chairman, Sean Dennehy has said owners need to be mindful of the damage that dog attacks can have on farmers.
The chairman believes there isn’t enough in place to put responsibility on dog-owners, even when a dog is micro chipped: “we’ve had a lot of cases where a dog was micro chipped to a person, but that person will claim they passed the dog on to a new owner”.
He urged the Department of Agriculture to take notice of this issue and put in place a plan to prevent further attacks.
Statistics collated by IFA indicate that the problem of dog attacks on sheep may be in the order of 300 to 400 attacks each year, with 3,000 to 4,000 sheep injured and killed.