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Farmers 'will take action over attacks'

The IFA has warned that sheep farmers will take action to protect their flocks from marauding dogs.

His comments follow a recent dog attack in Ballinakill, Co Laois, that resulted in the deaths of 17 lambs and left a further 18 badly injured.

IFA national sheep chairman James Murphy said that farmers were entitled under law to take whatever steps necessary to protect flocks from dogs that were found on their land.

Mr Murphy said dog owners could not evade their responsibilities when it came to keeping their pets under control and away from sheep.

He also called on local authorities to step up their inspections and ensure that all dogs were licensed.

"Sheep never recover fully from a dog attack and can suffer ongoing difficulties, including reproduction problems and increased nervousness affecting their general health," Mr Murphy said.

"Aside from the economic losses, for which dog owners can be held liable, the welfare implications for the flock can be very severe and long-lasting."

The attack on Francie Gorman's flock at Raggettstown, Ballinakill, took place over two nights. Four lambs were killed on the first night and 10 more met the same end on the second night. Another three died from their injuries in the days after the attack.

Mr Gorman put the initial cost of the attack at €5,000. He said the dogs responsible for the killings would have been left covered in blood, such was the severity of the attack.

Indo Farming