Gardaí in counties Cavan and Monaghan have publicly highlighted recent reports of incidents of dogs worrying sheep.
In a post on social media, the Cavan-Monaghan Garda Division called on dog owners to keep them on a lead, especially during lambing season.
Gardaí said: “In recent days we have received a number of reports of dogs worrying sheep and dogs wandering on farmland.”
The post added: “Lambing season has begun and the stress caused by dogs can cause sheep to miscarry, not to mention the damage that can be caused to the sheep themselves.”
It went on to call on dog owners to be mindful of where their dogs are even when they are at home, in case they wander onto nearby farmland.
“Please, if you are a dog owner, always keep your dog on a lead when out walking in rural areas. When at home always make sure your dog is on your property and not allowed to wander,” the social media post concluded.
It also includes an informational poster highlighting the responsibilities of dog owners.
This poster – developed and designed by the Garda National Community Policing Unit – notes that over 3,000 sheep are killed or injured each year by dogs in Ireland.
“Sheep are valuable assets and any harm to them harms a farmer’s livelihood… It is every dogs instinct to chase, even if they are usually obedient and good with other animals,” it says.
The poster goes on to say: “Chasing by dogs can do serious damage to sheep, even if the dog doesn’t catch them. The stress of worrying by dogs can cause sheep to die and ewes to miscarry their lambs.”
Gardaí warn dog owners that, if they live in or near a farming area, they must make sure that their dog cannot escape the property as it may find its way onto land containing sheep.
Furthermore, when in or near fields with livestock, dog owners are asked to keep their dogs on a lead and under control at all times.
Finally, members of the public are asked to report sightings of out-of-control dogs to their local garda station.