A farmer who has had his sheep attacked by dogs twice in the Comeragh Mountains in just over a week has urged walkers in the area to keep their dogs on a lead.
Agriland spoke to Packie Keating who farms sheep close to Mahon Falls, a popular tourist attraction in Co. Waterford.
Keating is aware of the popularity of the landmark, and said he does not mind people going to the area.
“We’re not stopping anyone, but we just want them to keep dogs on a lead,” he said.
The first of the two recent attacks on the sheep in Keating’s flock happened just after Christmas.
The sheep that was attacked had been found injured in a field off the mountain, which Keating said happened from being chased off the mountain by a dog.
The most recent attack happened last Saturday, January 6, when a neighbour called and said there was a sheep at the Mahon Falls that had been attacked.
Keating said the sheep (pictured above) had a “big piece” taken out the back of her.
“That wasn’t just a bite of a dog, she was tore. The dog had a little while at that sheep.”
He added that due to the vast size of the area that the Comeragh Mountains covers, there could be other sheep that were attacked that still haven’t been found.
“There could be other ones that you couldn’t find, that were drove into a river or a hole. In the mountain, you don’t find some of them.”
With one sheep dead and another badly injured, Keating said the true damage of the attacks wont be known until the lambing season begins.
“They are heavy in lamb now, they don’t need stress this time of year. This time of year they could start aborting lambs.”
Keating said that the issue of dogs worrying sheep has become “more of a problem in the last couple of years” in the Comeraghs.
He added that it is “hard to get to dogs in the mountain” during an attack on sheep due to the size of the area, but said that if dogs are correctly restrained with a lead by walkers then it should not be a problem.