Dog attacks: Situation worsens as 40 ewes lost in 6 weeks

With one farmer losing 40 ewes in the space of six weeks, dog attacks are getting more frequent, according to the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association’s (ICSA’s) Sheep Committee chairman John Brooks.

Brooks said he is appalled to hear of yet another spate of dog attacks on sheep.

Speaking out on the matter, Brooks said: “At this time of year, sheep flocks are at their most vulnerable – with a lot of heavily pregnant ewes and some already lambing.

“It is absolutely vital that we all do what we can to protect these defenceless animals from such attacks.”

ICSA dog attack

Brooks made his comments following a series of recent attacks on the farm of ICSA member Sean McNamara of Lismacaffrey, Mullingar on the border of counties Westmeath and Longford.

Over the last six weeks, McNamara has lost 40 ewes as a result of dog attacks occurring in the middle of the night.

Describing the incidents, McNamara said: “The situation is getting worse. Unfortunately we lose some every year; but, this year has been the worst by far.

“Locally, we encourage all dog owners to keep their pets under control; but, the message doesn’t seem to be getting through to everyone.

It’s very distressing to come down in the morning and see the destruction and injury that these attacks can cause.

“We have also had a lot of ewes abort as result, which only adds to the stress and the financial losses. I would encourage people to be mindful of where their dogs are at all times and to keep them under control.

“These awful incidents can be prevented with the help of local communities,” McNamara said.

DOg attacks ICSA

Brooks added: “Procedures regarding the microchipping of dogs also need to be urgently reviewed. Even when dogs are caught or in some instances shot following an attack, identifying the owner remains problematic.

The issue arises when dogs are sold and the details are not being updated with the microchipping agencies.

“As a result, farmers have no way of identifying the true owner and getting to the bottom of the incident,” Brooks concluded.