Lynskey said the core of the IFA’s campaign to reduce attacks on sheep is about dog owners’ showing "greater responsibility".
One practical way of doing this, he said, is to amend their house policy to ensure it includes any risk attached to their pet carrying out an attack on sheep and the losses that arise for the farmer from this. The sheep chairman warned dog owners that their pets can inflict horrendous damage on a sheep flock in an attack and the owners can be held responsible for the losses involved with serious financial and legal consequences.
Lynskey added that the devastation and trauma experienced by farmers whose sheep are the victims of attacks leaves them seriously questioning their future in sheep production.
“Unfortunately, I am 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.”
The latest statistics collated by IFA indicate that the problem of dog attacks on sheep may be in the order of 300 to 400 attacks per annum, with 3,000 to 4,000 sheep injured and killed. Data on dog attacks gathered by the IFA shows that an average of over 11 sheep are killed or injured per attack.
Last week a Wicklow farmer was awarded €7,000 in a civil action he brought against his neighbour Stephen Dalton to compensate him for losses following a dog attack on his sheep flock.
Two dogs were involved in the attack and seven sheep were killed on the day.
Last year the IFA launched a protocol to help farmers who encounter a dog attack on their sheep flock.
The protocol involves a 10-point Plan of Action covering what a farmer should do following a dog attack or sheep kill.