Two sheep farmers in Co Louth have been left counting the cost of a series of dog attacks in the last week. Matthew McGreehan, Louth IFA rural development chair said the farmers involved were left distressed by the attacks.
The first attack occurred in Dromiskin where 19 sheep were targeted. A neighbour contacted the farmer to say the sheep were being chased around frantically.
McGreehan said: “When Brendan [the farmer] reached his sheep he witnessed a dreadful sight. Two had been ripped and torn open by the attack, one of those had to be put down by the vet and the other sheep has since died. The remaining sheep were run by the dog into a drain and are severely traumatised.”
Two sheep died as a result of the injures they sustained during the attack.
The trauma inflicted on the farmer and his stock was worsened when the dogs involved returned the following day to launch another attack. The sheep has since been moved to another field and the dogs involved were identified and reported to Gardaí.
One of the lambs that was chased into a nearby river in the field where the dogs attacked.
The second incident occurred in Bellurgan where two sheep were killed by dogs.
McGreehan said Louth had a serious problem when it came to dog attacks as owners were failing to be responsible and control their dogs. He said dogs involved in attacks would need to be euthanised as they would only attack again and that dog owners were liable to pay farmers compensation.
He called on dog owners to be aware of the damage their dog cause if allowed to roam free even for a short period. He said even if they did not directly kill sheep they could cause huge amounts of stress to animals leading to abortions.
McGreehan also said farmers on the Cooley Mountains were having ongoing issues with hill walkers. He said they were taking their dogs onto mountain trails and in some cases those dogs were chasing sheep.
He said that hill walkers were more than welcome onto trails in the Cooley Mountains but that bringing dogs with them was forbidden.
“I on behalf of the shareholders on the Cooley Mountains would like to ask hillwalkers to respect the Louth countryside code which states ‘No dogs allowed on the Cooley Mountains other than sheep farmers dogs',” McGreehan said.
He emphasised the work done by Louth IFA, the National Trails Office and the local authority to open the Cooley Mountains to walkers and that shareholders could not accommodate dogs.