Dog owners have been urged to be responsible ahead of the main lambing season.
Minister of State with Responsibility for Dog Control Séan Canney highlighted that even the most docile of dogs can turn into killers.
Minister Canney said owners must be mindful that responsibilities for dog ownership not only include feeding and housing and pets, but also controlling them at all times.
He said dogs should never be let out unsupervised, especially at night.
Canney highlighted the fact that dogs can and do cause real serious injuries to sheep which has a knock-on emotional and financial effect on farmers and their families.
Minister Canney added: “We are all aware of the terrible dog attacks on sheep over the last number of years. This is not acceptable.
"Dog wardens and the 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.’’
Under the Control of Dogs Act owners are held liable to compensate farmers for economic losses sustained as a result of a dog attack.
Over the coming months some 2.5m lambs will be born on Irish farms. Flocks are extremely vulnerable to dog attacks at this time of the year.
Dog owners are asked to be particularly vigilant and care should be taken to ensure all dogs are secure at night time.