Importance of dog control during lambing season highlighted

The Department of Rural and Community Development is urging dog owners to be responsible as lambing season approaches.

According to Sean Canney, Minister of State with responsibility for Natural Resources, Community Affairs and Digital Development at the department, dog owners must keep their animals under control, and should never be left unsupervised, particularly at night.

According to the department, “even quiet, docile dogs can turn into killers”.

We are all aware of the terrible dog attacks on sheep over the last number of years. This is not acceptable.

“Dog wardens and Garda Siochana are doing what they can, but they cannot be in every part of the country at all times. The solution rests with dog owners,” said Canney.

“Whether you live in or near the countryside, or visit it for recreational purposes, I ask that you be on guard the whole time. Do not give your dog the opportunity to attack sheep and cause distress and pain to both sheep flocks and their owners,” he argued.

Around 2.5 million lambs will be born over the course of the coming months.

The department warns that a dog owner can be held liable under the Control of Dogs Act if their animal attacks or kills a sheep.

The department also highlights that sheep can suffer ongoing health problems, even if they survive an attack, such as reproduction problems and nervousness.

“Dog owners are requested to be particularly vigilant at this time of year and care should be taken to ensure all dogs are secure at night time,” said the department.