ISPCA issues national warning to all dog owners

Dog owners have been reminded to keep their pets under effective control around sheep and other livestock at all times.

The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) has issued a warning outlining that pet owners are liable for injury or damage caused by their dog to livestock.

In a recent statement, the ISPCA highlighted the importance of keeping all dogs under effective control both day and night.

Under the Control of Dogs Act 1986, as amended by the Control of Dogs Act 1992, it is an offence not to have your dog under effectual control and local authorities are responsible for enforcing the control of dog’s acts.

The statement explained that sheep that try to escape from dogs are often very seriously injured or killed.

Making reference to the farming community, the ISPCA said that “horrific dog attacks” to flocks of pregnant ewes and lambs cause “huge difficulty to farmers” during lambing season from January through the spring.

Please remember that this is a farmer’s place of work and that their livestock is their livelihood.

Commenting on the recent sheep attacks, ISPCA’s chief inspector, Conor Dowling, said: “Pet owners must be responsible and ensure the welfare of sheep and vulnerable lambs are protected.”

He explained: “A dog’s natural instinct can be to chase, and even the most docile, well-behaved dog may take part in ‘pack behaviour’.

“Pregnant ewes can be injured in a panic to escape from chasing dogs, often miscarrying their lambs or worse, they are fatally injured causing serious suffering and devastation to farmers.

In certain circumstances, farmers may be legally entitled to shoot dogs if they are endangering livestock on their property.

So if you live or walk near a sheep farm, you must ensure your dog is under control and also cannot escape from your property at any time.

The ISPCA is also reminding dog owners that it is a legal requirement that dogs are microchipped once they reach 12 weeks-of-age.

The statement concluded: “If you do see a dog that appears to be a stray, please report it to your local dog warden or in the case of an emergency, contact your local Garda Station.