'He killed her chicken and bit her, she had to get a tetanus shot' - Residents say once-rare pine martens are 'out of control'
'They're out of control in our area' - say farmers
Farmers in the midlands fear pine martens will attack and kill their sheep and lambs this winter as locals say the species is getting "out of control".
Padraig Brady, a sheep farmer and north Longford Fine Gael representative says a pine marten recently killed two of his lambs and injured three others leaving him with a financial loss of ¤250.
"Nobody really cares about what they're costing the farmer, I didn't need to lose that money.
"Neighbours around me have lots more sheep and their losses are phenomenal. ¤800 worth of pheasants were killed down the road," he said.
"They're out of control in our area. They're in people's dust bins in the villages looking for food. They've been sighted three at a time," he said.
He believes the pine marten - which resembles the otter, Irish stoat and American mink - is multiplying in heavily afforested counties.
"A woman went out to pick her eggs one morning and a pine marten was in the box where he'd the chicken killed. She put in her hand and he bit her. She had to get a tetanus shot," said Mr Brady.
Although local FG and FF councillors have informed the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the problem, they say the issue has "fallen on deaf ears".