IFA National Sheep Committee chairman James Murphy said all dog owners must ensure that their pets are under full control at all times and not allowed roam freely in the countryside where they can inflict horrific damage on a sheep flock.
Mr Murphy made his comments following what he described as a ‘pure savage’ attack on a flock in Co Westmeath last week where 23 ewes and 32 lambs were killed. Many more lambs were left orphaned and the entire flock traumatised, according to Mr Murphy.
Mr Murphy said a dog attack on a sheep flock at this time of the year can inflict immense damage in terms of animal welfare and financial consequence.
“Dog owners must be particularly vigilant in ensuring that their pets are securely housed at night,” he added. “Attacks from a number of dogs hunting together at night are an all too common feature in the countryside.”
The IFA is calling on all dog owners to ensure that their animals are under full control at all times and particularly at night. Dog owners should be aware that under the Control of Dogs Act, they can be held liable for any financial damage inflicted on a sheep flock from an attack by their dog.
“Under the law it is not an offence for farmers to shoot marauding dogs threatening their flocks,” Mr Murphy said. “The responsibility for marauding dogs rests with the dog owners and it is their clear duty to ensure that their dogs are under control at all times.”