IFA meets Coillte over spate of dog attacks in the Dublin mountains
More needs to be done to educate walkers of the dangers of letting their dogs loose on forest walks, according to IFA National Sheep Chairman Sean Dennehy.
Along with sheep farmers from the Dublin area Mr Dennehy met recently with Coillte on the control of dogs in the forestry area of the Dublin mountains.
IFA and Coillte have agreed to work together to encourage responsible dog ownership and reduce the attacks on sheep flocks in the Dublin Mountain area.
Sean Dennehy said IFA made it very clear to Coillte that a lot more would have to be done to educate walkers who let their dogs loose on forest walks, after which the dogs chase or hunt down sheep in the adjoining farms.
He said some farmers are having to endure repeated sheep attacks from dogs allowed to run off the lead.
He said dog owners are required to keep their dogs under effective control at all times.
The IFA National Sheep Chairman said Coillte agreed to increase the signage informing dog owners of their responsibilities and the need to keep their dogs under control at all times.
Coillte also agreed to highlight responsible dog ownership at access points for walkers and improve fencing where necessary.
Wicklow Uplands Council recently borrowed from the past in order to highlight the message of dog control.
There have been a number of serious sheep attacks involving dogs in recent months and the Uplands Council said that they decided to reintroduce the Department of Agriculture's 'Bonzo Wants to Go Out' ad campaign from the 1980s, which sought to build an awareness of dog owners' role in preventing sheep attacks.
The ad first aired on RTE in 1984 and proved to be a very effective way to inform television viewers that 'running free, he can be a killer.' Reposted now on social media, the animated video has been an instant hit.
Brian Dunne, Coordinator of the Wicklow Uplands Council, said: "Unfortunately, this ad is as relevant today as it was then, with an estimated 300 to 400 attacks occurring nationwide each year which results in up to 4,000 sheep killed or seriously injured.
"Sadly, County Wicklow has experienced several very serious sheep attacks over the last few months and it is our hope that this campaign will highlight the important role that dog owners have in tackling this issue."
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