The ICSA’s sheep chair Seán McNamara has pleaded with dog owners to prevent attacks on sheep by knowing where their dogs are at all times. McNamara lost four of his own ewes to dogs on New Year’s Day.

“On New Year’s Day, we lost four ewes in one attack. Witnesses have said that two dogs were involved in the incident, which occurred during the afternoon hours,” he said.

40 ewes dead

The Westmeath farmer previously lost more than 40 ewes in multiple attacks on his farm in Lismacaffrey, Co Westmeath, last year.

The attacks occurred over a six-week period in the spring and underscored the severe emotional, as well as financial, impact dog attacks can have.

“It’s unbelievably distressing to walk out and find dead or dying ewes. Even if the sheep are not directly attacked and have no visible injuries, they can die from the shock alone. The stress brought on by the attack can also cause some ewes to abort. Then, there are also financial losses to deal with.”


McNamara reminded people that these attacks are preventable.

“The busy lambing period is coming up and I would plead with those living in rural communities to be extra vigilant of their dog’s whereabouts. Any breed of dog, even a treasured family pet, can be involved in a sheep worrying episode.

"It is imperative for all dog owners to be conscious of the devastation their pets can cause when left unsupervised, even for a short time.”