A sheep farmer has been left counting the cost after an attack by dogs wiped out 20 of his flock.

Henry McElroy, a suckler and sheep farmer on the Armagh-Louth border, was left horrified on Monday morning when he found what he described as a bloodbath on his farm.

Overnight his flock of sheep had been attacked by four Alsation dogs, which has left 20 dead and many more severely injured.

“It’s only a torture. Sheep can only run so far before they get exhausted and the dogs ripped and teared them.

“They were just mauled,” he said.

Start breeding again

As the sheep killed were a mix of in-lamb ewes, hoggets and lambs just born, it will have a substantial impact on the farm.

“The whole next lambing season is wiped out and the replacements are gone.

“It’s a massive loss to me going forward as the 2018 lambs are now gone. More sheep could die now because they’re so nervous and shaking. The fear is there.”

Henry said the financial loss is at least £10,000, as well as a £200 knackery charge.

“I have to start breeding again and that’s if I stay in sheep because you couldn’t put up with this sort of carnage. It’s a savage loss.”

Worry for the future

The attack happened in a field Co Louth and the sheep were then moved to the farmyard, which is in Co Armagh, meaning the dog warden could not do anything, Henry said.

“Lambing season is nearly at an end and the big concern is if the dogs come back again.

“If the dog had been put down you knew that was it over but it’s not.

“There’s going to have to be a serious tightening up on dog laws because you can’t have people letting their dogs run wild.

“It’s a big worry because 24 hours is a long time when you’re round a farmyard on your own and your livelihood is wiped out.”

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