A south Kerry farmer has described a dog attack that resulted in the deaths of 70 of his sheep as “desperate cruelty”.

Patrick McCarthy, who keeps Scotch and Cheviot sheep in the Sneem area, said that 20 of the ewes had already lambed, while the remaining 60 were ready to lamb this week.

However, when the farmer went to inspect his sheep on his land overlooking the sea on Tuesday evening (April 11) he found that 10 ewes had been “torn” by dogs.

“I stayed at home on Wednesday from work and I went travelling the mountains as I was missing 70 sheep,” he told Agriland.


The farmer believes that the dogs involved in the attack forced the sheep into the sea as he discovered the bodies of three ewes and a couple of lambs washed in with the tide.

“They drove them out onto the cliff and then they jumped out into the sea,” he said.

“There was guaranteed two dogs involved anyway. There has to be, one dog wouldn’t do that with that amount of sheep.”

The farmer said that it was “an awful scene” which has left him very upset. He has reported the dog attack to the local gardaí.

Dead ewe washed in with the tide in Sneem Image: Patrick McCarthy

McCarthy said that he “had trouble a couple of times with dogs, but nothing very serious like this”.

He has called on the government to urgently taken action as stronger laws are needed to deal with dogs that are left loose by their owners.

“There are people who leave out dogs who don’t care where they go. There has to be something done to control dogs, it’s getting too serious.

“It’s an awful loss, it’s cruelty to the sheep as well. It’s desperate cruelty. These sheep were well looked after.”

Two out of the 10 surviving ewes were badly injured in the dog attack. “They might survive. I’ll keep treating them anyway,” the distraught farmer said.

Dog attack

Following the incident, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) urged Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue to move faster in relation to dog control.

“The horrific scenes in Kerry are unfortunately a common sight at this point,” IFA Kerry chair, Kenneth Jones said.

“A devastating attack like this has huge consequences for a family farm and it will take a long time for this farm to recover.”

The association said that recent, stronger regulations which were brought before Cabinet were a step in the right direction, however, claimed more needs to be done.