Dog owners are being urged to remember how vulnerable sheep are to dog attacks – especially during lambing season.
Highlighting the issue, Minister Heather Humphreys said dog attacks cause real and serious injury to sheep and can have a negative impact on the farmers involved as well as their families.
She said that while the vast majority of dog owners act responsibility, the issue of animals being attacked has been raised in many parts of the country, with 253 incidences of ‘Livestock Worrying’ were reported to local authorities in 2019.
Speaking to mark the beginning of lambing season, Minister Humphreys pointed out that under the Control of Dogs Acts, it is the responsibility of dog owners to ensure that they are in control of their dogs at all times.
“Some 2.5 million lambs will be born on farms all over Ireland this springtime. Sheep flocks are very vulnerable to dog attacks at this critical time, and especially during the night,” she said.
“The presence of dogs, even on a lead, can alarm sheep prior to lambing and have a detrimental effect on both the sheep and their lambs.
“I know that the vast majority of dog owners behave responsibly. However, this is a matter of considerable concern for farmers, particularly those who live in rural parts of the country.
“Dog Wardens and An Garda Síochána are doing what they can. But they cannot be in every part of the country at all times. The solution rests primarily with dog owners.”