New working arrangements ‘could add to dog attacks’

IFA Sheep Chairman Sean Dennehy says farmers are fearful that the new working arrangements arising from the Government announcement recently will add to the problem of dog attacks on livestock.

“We know that dog ownership increased during lockdown, and we also know that some people took on pets without realising the responsibilities that go with that. As people move about more freely, and some travel to work for part of the week, the danger is that their pets will have too much freedom,” he said.

He called on the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to implement the necessary controls as a matter of urgency to tackle the issue of irresponsible dog ownership. He said farmers’ patience with the authorities on this issue has run out. The recent horrific attack in Wicklow shows the message is not getting through to dog owners.

“The Minister for Agriculture must advance controls and enforcements for negligent dog owners. We need a single national database for all dogs in the country that identifies the dog owner who is responsible. There must be appropriate sanctions in place for those who fail to have their dog under control at all times, and for those whose dogs are identified worrying or attacking livestock,” he said.

The IFA Sheep Chairman said the lack of action from the Government and local authorities to put appropriate sanctions in place to deal with the irresponsible behaviour of dog owners is unacceptable. He concluded by saying the IFA’s ‘No Dogs Allowed’ campaign will continue, highlighting the damage uncontrolled dogs inflict on cattle and sheep and the urgent need for appropriate legislation to protect farmers and their livestock.