Farm Ireland

Sunday 21 January 2018

Farmers hunt 'killer' dog that has left over 40 sheep dead

Stock image: Hunter loading shotgun
Stock image: Hunter loading shotgun
Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

This is the killer dog that has evaded gun-parties in the southeast for the last three weeks.

The large hunting hound - believed to be a Belgian Shepherd - is being blamed for savaging over 40 sheep in weekly attacks, despite being wounded by farmers attempting to defend their flocks.

"We went out with the gun after the first attack and got a shot at him," explained Patrick Lacey whose flock has been attacked several times by the vicious hound.

"He went down in a field of fodder-beet but by the time we'd made it over to finish him off he was gone," said Mr Lacey, who runs a sheep, beef and tillage operation in partnership with his brothers Lorcan and Kieran and father Laurance just outside New Ross in Wexford.

Picture of the wanted dog.
Picture of the wanted dog.

The first attack happened in the second week of January when 12 of Lacey's 350 store hoggets were killed, with 15 more killed during another attack a week later. The latest attack happened at the weekend with another 20 sheep found dead.

The brothers estimate that they have lost at least 40 sheep so far, worth €4,000, but with many more "half-dead" from the terror of the episode. 

Local horse-breeders are equally worried that their valuable stock might be next to be attacked.

A party of up to eight locals armed with shotguns have failed to catch the dog during weekly searches of the locality. 

Also Read

"He's a very elusive and clever animal. Any sound at all and he's gone. He evaded the hunting crew by circling about 2-3 miles back behind them," said local farmer Billy Moroney.

"He's also figured out how to navigate his way into fields with four strands of electric wire."

It is believed that the dog was lost by 'lampers' out hunting wildlife at night using headlights to startle animals. 

Mr Moroney has called for a ban on lamping to prevent this and related problems. 

"I've have my cattle terrified into running through fences because of lampers. It has to stop," he said.

Patrick Lacey claimed that his flock had been subjected to regular dog attacks over the years.

"Every couple of years we get another attack. It was one of the reasons we got out of keeping pregnant ewes because lambing them down after an attack is no fun. But this fella will be got. We've a specialist hunter coming down over the coming days to take him out," he said.

The IFA has said a farmer is within their rights to shoot any dog worrying sheep on their land, but that it's not a policy they promote. There are over 300 attacks by dogs on sheep reported annually. 

For Stories Like This and More
Download the FarmIreland App

Online Editors