The Chairman of the IFA Sheep Committee in Roscommon, Michael Glennon, has issued a strong warning to dog owners over increasing sheep attacks.
Speaking to the Roscommon People last week, he said: “Dog owners can be held responsible for any losses involved in dog attacks on sheep, with serious financial and legal consequences. Farmers have a right to protect their sheep flock and can shoot a dog worrying, or about to worry their flock.
“In recent weeks we have reports of attacks from all over the country. In County Louth alone, we have reports of 42 sheep killed in the last two months”.
Highlighting the damage dogs can inflict on a sheep flock, the sheep chairman said that IFA data shows an average of eleven sheep are killed or injured during each dog attack.
“Unfortunately, IFA are taking calls on a frequent basis from sheep farmers around the country who have suffered attacks. There are far too many dog owners not taking the responsibility that goes with owning a pet. Dog owners have an obligation to have their dog under control at all times”.
Mr. Glennon reminded all dog owners, including farmers, that it is a legal requirement that they microchip and register their dogs. He said under the Animal Health and Welfare Act all dogs must be microchipped and registered on an authorised database since March 31st 2016.
He added that the IFA had a ten-point plan of action detailing steps farmers should take following a dog attack or sheep kill.
The chairman also called on the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to re-run a TV advertisement campaign on responsible dog ownership from the 1980s. He said the TV ad was an excellent reminder to warn dog owners about the dangers of letting their pet out at night and the serious damage they could do to a sheep flock. The tag line of that campaign was: ‘Keep your dog under control. Running free he can be a killer’.