Dog owners are being called on to remain vigilant and responsible for their dogs to prevent attacks on sheep by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA).

ICSA president Sean McNamara said he is pleading with dog owners “stop this scourge” on “vulnerable livestock”.

“Just last week ICSA’s Wexford chair Des Greene lost a number of in-lamb ewes in a devastating attack by two dogs that had travelled more than 2km to wreak havoc.

“We are pleading with all dog owners to take measures to prevent their pets from roaming unsupervised near farmland.

“It is imperative that owners of dogs understand the gravity of their responsibility and take appropriate action to prevent attacks on livestock.

“These attacks not only inflict physical harm but also leave a lasting emotional impact on farmers who witness the aftermath of such incidents, and all because the dog owners involved were too complacent about where their dogs were and what they were doing,” he said.

‘Serious consequences’

McNamara added that dog owners need to understand the “serious consequences” their pets’ actions can have.

“There are consequences all round when it comes to these senseless attacks.

“As well as the harm and suffering to livestock and the emotional stress for farmers there are also financial ramifications including the loss of valuable breeding stock and lambs, veterinary bills and even potential legal costs.

“Dog owners can be fined for failing to control their dogs and may be faced with paying compensation to farmers.

“Then there is the often heartbreaking reality of having their pets put down. This was the case in Wexford last week where the two dogs involved had to be put down because of their lethal attack.

“By all accounts these were well-fed family pets, however, all dogs - even those with a gentle and friendly demeanour - can react around livestock and turn predatory,” he said.

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