The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) has said that the persistent failure of the authorities around dog control has frustrated farmers who have suffered significant losses as a result of dog attacks.

IFA national sheep chair Kevin Comiskey led a delegation to meet Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys on Wednesday 18 May to put forward stronger measures to curb dog attacks.

He said there was a constructive discussion with Minister Humphreys, who understands the issues and is committed to addressing farmers' concerns.

"This is a critical issue on sheep farms. Dog attacks cause unimaginable suffering for sheep and lambs and huge economic losses for farmers," he said.

The level of sanctions doesn’t reflect the savagery and trauma these uncontrolled dogs are causing

The IFA has three priority actions to tackle the issue:

  • A single national database for all dogs in the country that identifies the person responsible for the dog.
  • Tougher sanctions for those who fail to have their dog under their control at all times and for those whose dogs are identified worrying or attacking livestock.
  • Additional resources to ensure compliance with the obligations of dog owners.
  • Cumiskey said that the level of sanctions doesn’t reflect the savagery and trauma these uncontrolled dogs are causing.

    "The absence of a centralised database to identify ownership and those responsible for the dogs, and the lack of enforcement of microchipping, are all contributing to this ongoing and escalating problem," he said.

    He added that dogs should not be allowed in or near farmland and he urged all dog owners to behave in a responsible way and adhere to this.

    The IFA’s ‘No Dogs Allowed’ campaign will continue until substantial progress is made, he added.

    The Irish Farmers Journal recently reported the death of 27 sheep on commonage in Newcastle, Co Tipperary, on 25 April.

    Separately, five hoggets and eight lambs were killed on the farm of Patrick and Noel Woulfe in Co Limerick on Thursday morning 28 April.

    In both cases, an Alsatian dog is believed to have killed the sheep.

    Limerick IFA county chair Seán Lavery said that people may assume they have a friendly dog, but when dogs get into a pack they will kill.

    "I'm not sure anyone has been fined the €2,500 yet.

    "It would be a good enough fine if there was adequate enforcement around it," he said.