State authorities need to step in to prevent further dog attack devastation on sheep flocks, President of the INHFA has urged.
Mr O’ Donnell stated that state authorities need to ensure that dog control laws are fully enforced in order to prevent a further reduction of hill sheep flocks
“At national and county level we have seen a complete abdication of responsibilities by the powers that be resulting in no control on dogs and no penalties for their irresponsible owners," he said.
Dog owners are required to be in control of their dogs at all times which also means knowing where their dogs are at all times. Sadly throughout the country this is not the case.
“At night many dog owners go to bed while outside their dog is allowed to roam free, others do control their dog at night but allow their dog to roam free while they are gone to work and of course on the hills we see recreational walkers allowing their dogs to roam free clearly unconcerned of the potential stress and damage dogs can cause for our hill flocks.
“The gross margin per ewe in hill flocks is low enough without having flocks attacked in this way. It is not the farmer’s job to control other people’s dogs.”
Mr O’ Donnell called for a national media campaign to be set up to warn people of the potential harm their dogs can cause to sheep flocks when they are allowed to run free unsupervised.
He added that more wardens are also needed to combat the growing occurrence of sheep attacks.
“The current compliment of one dog warden per county is clearly not enough. These wardens need back-up and it is our belief that a team of part-time wardens assisting what is presently there, operating in the evenings and at weekends, could over the next two years ensure every dog owner is visited and where needs be address any issue that arises.”
Meanwhile, north Sligo farmer Andy 'The Bull' McSharry hit the headlines recently when he said he would shoot dead any dogs found with or without a lead on his land.
In an interview with the 'North West Today Show' on Ocean FM, Mr McSharry, from Gleniff, said he was patrolling the roads around his home with a double-barrel shotgun, warning dog owners what he would do if their animals were found on his land.
Mr McSharry said this was on foot of two recent sheep kills in the area, something he had not experienced before.
However, after his comments hit the headlines last week gardai called out to the farmer and warned him over shotgun use.
Mr McSharry said the gardaí told him that his gun licence only allowed him to shoot vermin on his own land.
"I was told nicely by them that I can no longer walk down the road with a gun in my hand or on my shoulder.
He said he would co-operate with the gardaí but warned that he will close access to hillwalkers on his lands.