Farmers told top 10 tips to thwart dog attacks during lambing season

Dog owners have been urged to keep their pets under control during lambing season – with sheep farmers encouraged to follow 10 top tips for thwarting dogs by Mayo County Council.

As the lambing season is underway Mayo County Council issued the reminder to dog owners to be vigilant and keep their dogs under control at all times day and night.

Sheep attacks result in sheep and lambs dying from their injuries, lambs being aborted and stock not thriving the local authority warned.

‘Horrendous damage’

Pets can inflict horrendous damage on a sheep flock in an attack and the owners can be held responsible for the losses involved with serious financial and legal consequences. Dog owners are responsible for ensuring their pets are under control at all times, the county council reminded.

Pregnant ewes on the point of lambing at this time of year are particularly vulnerable to dog attacks, the authority added.

The county council recommended the protocol for farmers who encounter a dog attack on their sheep flock, which has been developed by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA):
  1. Stop the dogs;
  2. Follow the law;
  3. Inform the Gardaí
  4. Ring the dog warden;
  5. Contact the IFA;
  6. Ring the vet;
  7. Keep the evidence/take a picture;
  8. Get a valuation of losses;
  9. Inform your insurance company; and
  10. Tell your sheep farming neighbours.

Mayo County Council’s dog warden Laura Mulligan underlined the importance of keeping dogs under control:

“It is important in rural areas, particularly where there is livestock, that dogs are not allowed wander or be off leads.


“Dog owners should be extra vigilant when walking dogs in areas of commonage,” Mulligan added.

Mayo Dog Warden receives calls regularly from farmers who have suffered serious loss and trauma as a result of loose dogs attacking flocks, the county council noted.

Any dog can do a lot of damage to sheep in a short length of time. All dogs should wear a collar with owner details, be microchipped and be licensed, the authority concluded.