The Wicklow Uplands Council have found a nostalgic approach to share the message of dog control after a number of serious incidents of sheep attacks in the upland region in recent months.
Reintroducing the Department of Agriculture’s “Bonzo Wants to Go Out” ad to build an awareness campaign seeking dog owners assistance in preventing sheep attacks, seems to have struck the right chord with the animated video becoming an instant hit across social media.
First aired on RTE in 1984, in a year that saw Ronald Reagan visit his Irish homestead, the DART take it’s first passengers from Howth to Bray and Morning Ireland broadcast for the first time, the ad proved to be a very effective way to inform television viewers that ‘running free, he can be a killer”
According to Brian Dunne, Coordinator of Wicklow Uplands Council:
“Unfortunately, this ad is as relevant today as it was then, with an estimated 300 – 400 attacks occurring nationwide each year which results in up to 4,000 sheep killed or seriously injured.”
“Sadly, Co. Wicklow has experienced several very serious sheep attacks over the last few months and it is our hope that this campaign will highlight the important role that dog owners have in tackling this issue.”
Along with the video, dog owners living or visiting farmland regions are requested to consider the welfare of sheep by maintaining their distance, respecting farm boundaries and keeping dogs under control at all times.
A number of guidelines also feature with a reminder that both lambs and pregnant ewes are exceptionally vulnerable at this time of year. The presence of dogs even with playful intent, may cause great distress to heavily pregnant ewes; with shock often causing fatalities 2 – 3 days after being chased.
When a flock is disturbed, the loss of young lambs due to hunger can also occur if they become separated from their mother, the source of essential milk.
Other guidelines include, monitoring where they are at all times, using a leash where appropriate, reporting wandering dogs and suspicious sights to your local authorities and making sure dogs are registered and microchipped.