January is usually the time when reports of dog attacks on sheep flocks start to circulate, and depressingly, this year is no exception.

Enda Byrne is farming sheep between Aughrim and Tinahely in Co Wicklow. His is one of seven neighbouring flocks that have been terrorised by dogs since the turn of the year. “The first attack was on New Year’s Eve. Since then, there have been repeated attacks, with nearly 40 sheep killed outright, and many others mauled.”