Walkers urged not to take dogs onto the hills

Walkers have been urged not to take their dogs onto the hills by Mountaineering Ireland.

The national representative body for hillwalkers and climbers said it supports the call this week from farmers in the Mount Brandon area of Co. Kerry for walkers not to take dogs onto the hills.

The presence of a dog on the hill causes stress to sheep, and where dogs are off-lead sheep may be chased and injured, the group warns, adding:

The failure of a minority of dog owners to keep their dogs under control means that dogs are not welcome in most upland areas.

Mountaineering Ireland said it appeals to all walkers and climbers to respect farm animals and wildlife by not taking dogs onto the hills.

In locations where dogs are welcome, people should ensure that their dog is under effective control at all times.

“Over the last two weeks Mountaineering Ireland has been liaising with IFA [Irish Farmers’ Association] representatives, the Rural Recreation Officer in Kerry and local Mountaineering Ireland member, Councillor Séamus Cosaí Fitzgerald, providing advice to help address this issue at Brandon and also at Caherconree,” the group said.

Mountaineering Ireland advises those who enjoy outdoor activities to support and adhere to the current travel restrictions for exercise, 5km from home in the Republic of Ireland, 10 miles in Northern Ireland,” the organisation concluded.

Garda appeal in midlands

Meanwhile, An Garda Síochána and the Irish Farmers’ Association in Laois and Offaly are reminding dog owners of the harm their pets can cause if let roam free or unsecured and not kept under effectual control.

“With dog ownership comes responsibility. Secure your dog, have it microchipped and registered with your vet,” Gardaí based in the midlands stressed.

This time of year we see issues with sheep kills when dogs attack livestock. Dogs should not be allowed roam. It is lambing season.

“Please keep your family pet under effectual control,” the Garda statement concluded.