Farm Ireland

Monday 19 February 2018

Dog attacks on pregnant sheep in Laois leave trail of damage

*Warning: Distressing images

Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

A dog attack on two farms in Laois this week has left 17 sheep dead.

Two neighbouring farms outside Portarlington, Co. Laois were the victims of a dog attack in recent days that saw six sheep killed on one farm and five on another, while a further seven had to be put down.

Clive Wardrop had five pedigree sheep killed in the attack and he had to put down a further six. The pedigree Lleyn ewes were in lamb and due to lamb in the coming weeks.

Clive said that when he went out on Tuesday morning to check on the sheep, he found five dead. "When I went out to the farm, to check on the ewes I found five dead. They were all in lamb with twins and I had to put down six more afterards."

He said that the sheep had suffered an awful attack from at least two dogs as they were ran through ditches and banks. "The remaining ewes were in shock and shaking. We had to bring them home, but they're still out in a field and are scared when anyone now goes into the field."

His pedigree flock of 44 ewes were all in lamb with twins, he said, and some were meant to be taken to a special sale in Roscommon this Saturday, where they could be expected to fetch prices of €350-€650.

While Clive's flock is insured for such an attack, he said the impact on the remaining flock remains unknown as the ewes may abort up to weeks after an attack. "These ewes are due to lamb from January 1 and we don't know how that will go. They are still very distressed from the attack."

A week earlier a neighbour of Clive's flock was also attacked by dogs, with six sheep killed in that attack.

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Laois IFA Chairman Francis Gorman said the attack this week only highlighted how important it is for dog owners to ensure their dogs are under control at all times.

Gorman, who suffered a sheep attack on his farm four years ago that left 39 sheep dead said the impact of such attacks were not just felt by the sheep but also the flock owners.

"I know what it is like to these individuals. I was in a state of shock at the time when it happened to me and I was lucky enough to have my wife, family and neighbours there for me."

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