Dog attack: ‘Unbelievably distressing to find dead or dying ewes’

Dog owners are being urged to be mindful of where their pets are at all times by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) national sheep chairman Sean McNamara, as he again deals with the after-effects of an attack on his own flock.

“On New Year’s Day, we lost four ewes in one attack. Witnesses have said that two dogs were involved in the incident, which occurred during the afternoon hours,” he commented.

In early 2018, McNamara – from Lismacaffrey in Co. Westmeath – lost over 40 ewes during a six-week period and knows first-hand the emotional as well as financial impact these attacks can have.

It’s unbelievably distressing to walk out and find dead or dying ewes. Even if the sheep are not directly attacked and have no visible injuries, they can die from the shock alone.

“The stress brought on by the attack can also cause some ewes to abort. Then, there are also financial losses to deal with.”

McNamara took the opportunity to remind people that these attacks are preventable.

“The busy lambing period is coming up and I would plead with those living in rural communities to be extra vigilant of their dog’s whereabouts,” he stressed.

Any breed of dog, even a treasured family pet, can be involved in a sheep worrying episode.

“It is imperative for all dog owners to be conscious of the devastation their pets can cause when left unsupervised, even for a short time,” the sheep chairman concluded.