Farmer devastated as more than 30 sheep found dead after suspected dog attack
**Warning: some readers may find image distressing**
A farmer has been left in "utter shock" after discovering over 30 of his sheep had been killed as a result of a "dog attack".
Pat Rohan, chair of the ICMSA Farm and Rural Affairs Committee, has spoken of the scenes of devastation that his neighbour woke up to last Friday at his farm in Co Kerry.
"When the farmer woke up, he realised that his sheep were not in the field they were meant to be in - and immediately he knew something was wrong," Rohan told independent.ie.
"A few individual sheep remaining at the base of the field were left brown, dirty and torn, but then he found most of his flock. Thirty-six of his sheep had pushed through the re-inforced wire and were piled in a heap on top of each other."
Based on paw marks in wet soil and the injuries to the animals, both alive and dead, it is believed that a pack of dogs attacked the sheep, who then tried to flee the field in panic.
"The vet was called straight away [after the discovery] and confirmed that the tear damage looks like it was as a result of dog bites," said Rohan.
However, the majority of the animals were actually found to have suffocated after they piled on top of each other against a 15 foot galvanised gate.
"There was a U-shape left in the gate from the sheep who had lunged at it in blind panic," he said.
Three other farmers in the same locality of Annascaul reported similar incidents of sheep damage by dogs - but on a much smaller scale.
This particular farmer has been left in shock, according to Rohan, especially after "devoting all winter and spring to lambing".
"He has lost 26 lambs practically ready for sale and maybe five ewes. A conservative figure would place the financial loss for him at around €2,700," said Rohan.
The farmer has thanked his friends and neighbours who assisted him in the aftermath of the discovery - particularly when it came to removing the sheep from the scene.
"He said he can fight the elements of the weather, the fox and the crow - but this had proven a lot harder to handle," said Rohan.