Dogs attack and kill eight sheep on Leitrim farm

Gardai are investigating after a flock of 30 sheep were attacked by dogs in Mohill, Co. Leitrim, in the early hours of last Monday night / Tuesday morning (January 15 and 16).

It is understood that eight sheep were killed as a result of the attack; a large number were also left injured and distressed.

It is the third such attack to occur in the area in recent times.

John Brooks, sheep chairman of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), is pleading with farmers to be vigilant with their canines following the Mohill sheep kill; as well as a spate of repeated attacks in Co. Westmeath in recent weeks – resulting in the loss of 40 ewes.

“Dog attacks on sheep happen constantly; but, large kills – such as those in Leitrim and Westmeath – are terrible. All we can do is plead with pet and dog owners to be more responsible. The fault lies with the owner.

“Sheep are particularly vulnerable at this time of year when they are heavily pregnant. Even if a dog just worries a sheep it can cause untold damage.

Shooting a dog is the last straw for a farmer; but, pet owners need to be more vigilant – hunting and killing is in their DNA.

“For the farmer, aside from the financial loss, they can be left traumatised after witnessing their flock being slaughtered,” he said.

Microchipping

Brooks said procedures regarding the microchipping of dogs need to be urgently reviewed.

“ICSA has lobbied hard for microchipping to put the responsibility back on pet owners. It was great when it was introduced; but, there doesn’t seem to be any follow-up or prosecution.”

Brooks highlighted that dogs are being sold to new owners without microchip details being updated.

The problem is the original owners are trading their dogs to new owners without the full details being passed on.

“As a result, it becomes almost impossible for a farmer who has suffered an attack to find the true owner of the dog and get to the bottom of the incident,” he said.