Dog owners are being called on to be more responsible and to ensure their dogs are kept under control as the lambing season gets under way for many farmers in the coming weeks by Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) sheep chair for Wexford Pat Murray.
"Thousands of euros of damage can be done in a few minutes.
"We’re seeing a lot of bigger dogs involved in these attacks now and they do a lot more damage more quickly. This is a crucial time on farms," he said.
Murray said that even if there is no sheep killed in the attack and ewes are chased by dogs, this can result in a lot of losses, with ewes aborting and dead lambs when ewes go to lamb.
“The Minister needs to get new laws regarding dog control enforced quickly,” he added.
“They’ve been talked about for long enough and we need action.
"There’s 800,000 dogs in the country and they need to be regulated better.
“Only about 20% of dogs are microchipped, which makes tracing the owners and enforcing fines difficult," he said.
Farmers have to have their sheep or cattle tagged and registered correctly and the same should be applied to dog owners, the Wexford man told the Irish Farmers Journal.
"In addition to this, there needs to be a dog warden in every county and one national database that deals with microchipping should be put in place."
Murray added that the law is against farmers when it comes to sheep attacks.
“The farmer has to bring the dog owner to court and, in a lot of cases, people don’t want to go down this route.”