Hunters stalking feral dogs believed to have killed 50 deer and 16 sheep
Two lurcher cross-breeds are believed to be responsible for killing up to 50 deer since November within a three-mile radius taking in Clara Vale, Ballylug and Trooperstown.
The dogs are also believed to have been responsible for killing up to 16 sheep and maiming others so badly that they had to be put down or later died, the Wicklow People reports.
Local landowners became so concerned about the animals, they gave permission for hunters to stalk the dogs on their land. One of the dogs was shot and killed on January 13 but the other dog - described as a large, tawny coloured lurcher mix - remains at large.
Peter Windsor is stalking the remaining dog and captured video footage of both dogs after setting up some cameras.
"The footage would shock you," said Mr Windsor. "It appears the black dog would chase the deer down and the brown dog, which is still at large, was the muscle. The remaining dog is huge, probably a metre high from the shoulders.
"In some incidents they were carolling the deer up against the fence before attacking but we also have evidence of deer being killed in the open hills. No dog is bred for that sort of thing. In my opinion both dogs had to be purposefully bred to hunt deer. They have to be blooded to carry this out".
Up to 35 deer carcases have so far been recovered but the numbers are expected to be higher.
"There are bound to be more carcases in the woods and other more secluded locations. I would estimate that there could be up to 50 or so deer killed," said Mr Windsor.