Farm Ireland

Sunday 25 February 2018

*Warning graphic content: Almost 20 sheep killed in dog attack that leaves family facing more trauma

Readers may find the images below upsetting

Recent Tipperary sheep attack left 20 sheep dead
Recent Tipperary sheep attack left 20 sheep dead
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

A dog attack on a flock of sheep in recent days left 20 sheep dead, but the owners face more trauma when the ewes lamb.

Tipperary farmers Mary and Tim Ryan farm outside Templederry, Nenagh, and recently lost 20 ewes after a dog attack on their flocks.

"We have about 60 acres near Templederry and all was quiet at 10am when we were up there with the sheep.

"Then got a phonecall about 3.30 – a neighbour had heard dogs barking," Mary said.

By the time they got to the field the damage was done and the dogs were gone. "When we went up to the field, which is only 10 minutes away, we were met with scenes of devestation."

She described that two ewes that were trapped in the cattle grid were dead after being attacked there. "You can imagine the terror they went through."

In total 14 female sheep were killed, all of which were carrying lambs and since then another four were so traumatised that they later died.

Mary estimates that the attack has cost herself and husband Tim in the region of €5,000 and they don't have insurance to cover it. However, she is more concerned about what will happen when the rest of the ewes lamb in the coming weeks.

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"They are due to lamb in the middle of April and that will be awful. One fifth of the flock are dead but we will be dealing then with malpresentations."

The Tipperary farmers have previously suffered dog attacks on their sheep flock but say this attack was not the work of wild dogs.

"We have no idea who owns the dogs, as we did not see them, but they did not come back the second day as wild dogs would, so it looks like they are family pets."

But she said that the dogs would have went home bloodied and with wool on them and she asked that people with dogs ensure they know where they are, as farmers face into lambing time.

"People don’t understand where their dogs can go if you let them out or left for the day.

"I don’t’ think they realise what damage the dogs can do. It probably started out as a game for the dogs, but they can turn savage and unless you see it you don’t realise what it’s like."

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