Pregnant ewes killed amid defective dog controls (graphic pictures)

A sheep farmer from Lisnaglea, Stradone, Co. Cavan, became concerned last Thursday, December 27, when he heard dogs barking in the area where his flock of breeding ewes was grazing.

On hearing the commotion, Derik Orminston headed over in his tractor to investigate what was going on and to ensure his ewes – which are due to lamb on January 10 – were in safe order.

On arriving at the field, he noticed two dogs – a black Labrador and an English Setter – were attacking his sheep.

He explained: “At the minute, there are seven sheep dead as a result of the attack. Six pregnant ewes and a ram. There is one ewe still missing as well.”

Three sheep died during the attack and three had to be put down afterwards. The ram was missing but was found dead the following day.

“There were over 40 ewes in that bundle and they are all due to lamb on January 10. As the vet told me the trouble from this attack is only starting.”

“Lambing the ewes will now be very difficult, lambs will be upside down and every way inside the ewes as a result of the dogs chasing the ewes.”

The ewes are not the same since the attack. I put them in a shed and every time they hear a noise they nearly go out through the back wall with fear.

Derik expressed his anger at negligent dog owners: “Coming up to this time of the year you would think that dog owners would have a bit of cop-on and know to supervise their dogs.”

Continuing, he added: “People are letting dogs out for runs and forgetting about them; they don’t know where they are going.

“It’s hard to take when you are pulling your ewes out of drains half eaten and ripped apart. I had a few in-lamb hoggets ripped from ear to ear and still alive. I had to get the vet to put them down.

It’s hard enough minding stock without having to worry about other peoples’ dogs as well.

Concluding, Derik called on sheep farmers to be vigilant and for dog owners to maintain control of their pets.

“If the dog owners had to have come and done the job I had to do last Friday morning, gathering up dead and dying sheep, they might think twice about allowing their dogs to roam unsupervised.”