A Kerry sheep farmer has offered a €1,000 reward to anyone with information that will lead to the recovery of his 15 in-lamb ewes, which he suspects were stolen last month.

In January, Patrick Dwyer put his Swaledale ewes on the Slieve Mish Mountains commonage for four months of grazing before lambing in May.

“Just in the last two weeks, I noticed the flock looked a bit light, so I decided to take them down off the commonage in preparation for lambing,” Dwyer told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“You always have a few ewes die while on the mountain. This year, I can say for sure that 15 in-lamb ewes have been stolen. This number would never go missing in one season.”

Local knowledge

Dwyer suspects the thieves used a dog to round up the ewes on the mountain.

“These sheep are not easy caught, so there’s no doubt in my mind that a dog was used. The thieves also have a great knowledge of the mountain, because it is quite tricky to navigate,” Dwyer said.

“These ewes weren’t stolen to be sent to the factory. They would have a low condition score and are ready to lamb. I suspect they are on a farm not too far away.”

Dwyer recalled a spate of sheep thefts in the area and raised concerns around the latest incident.

“Every year for about 10 years we would lose roughly 20 sheep to thieves. It happened consistently, every August and September. In 2010, it seemed to just stop.

“I’m worried that this will start up again, so I want to nip it in the bud. I’m offering the reward to try conclude it early on. Working on the mountain is hard enough, so we don’t need this to contend with also.”