Minister of state with responsibility for dog control at the Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD) Seán Canney has warned dog owners about their duty to keep their dogs under control at all times.
“With ownership comes responsibility; never let your dog out unsupervised, especially at night.”
According to DRCD, approximately 2.5m lambs will be born on farms all over Ireland this spring and sheep flocks are very vulnerable to dog attacks at this critical time.
“The presence of dogs, even on a lead, can alarm sheep prior to lambing and have a detrimental effect on both the sheep and their lambs.
Make sure that your dog is not responsible for injury to sheep
"Make sure that your dog is not responsible for injury to sheep or for the stress and financial loss to sheep owners and their families,” it said.
Some sheep never recover fully from a dog attack and can suffer continuing health problems, including reproduction problems and nervousness.
The department has requested that dog owners be particularly vigilant at this time of year and care should be taken to ensure all dogs are secure at night time.
Never allow a dog to roam freely in a public place or on to farmland. Even quiet, docile dogs can turn into killers, especially if they join other dogs.
‘‘We are all aware of the terrible dog attacks on sheep over the last number of years. This is not acceptable,” said Canney.
“Dog wardens and An Garda Síochána are doing what they can, but they cannot be in every part of the country at all times. The solution rests with dog owners.
"Whether you live in or near the countryside or visit it for recreational purposes, I ask that you be on guard the whole time. Do not give your dog the opportunity to attack sheep and cause distress and pain to both sheep flocks and their owners,” he said.
Attacks on sheep can result in economic losses to the farmer, for which the dog owner can be held liable.
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