I'll shoot any dogs that come onto my land - even those on leads, says farmer
A farmer has claimed he is "patrolling" roads close to his home with a double-barrelled shotgun, threatening to shoot dogs accompanying hillwalkers.
North Sligo farmer Andy 'The Bull' McSharry said he will 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.
The Gleniff Horseshoe is popular with walkers and features Diarmuid and Grainne's cave, which is located above the cliffs of Annacuna.
In 2004, Mr McSharry served three weeks in prison rather than pay a €300 fine after being convicted of issuing threats to hillwalkers on his land.
He had disputed the rights of hillwalkers to use his land, posting many signs up around his home stating this. The issue was resolved in 2009.
Yesterday, Mr McSharry told the radio show he has noticed people walking with dogs without leashes on the road for the last year and a half.
"People are now bringing their dogs to the hills. Those same people fought the issue of right to roam. But now they want to fight the right to roam for their dogs," he said.
Mr McSharry said he has been walking the road with his shotgun "legally" and advising dog owners what will happen if he finds them with their dogs on his land.
"If the dog comes onto my land on a lead, the dog will still be shot. On Wednesday alone I stopped four people," he said.
He claimed he approached one woman with her dog. She told him she had no leash and asked him what she should do.
"I told her to pick up her dog, it was about twice the size of a cat, and put it into her arms and leave it back in her car. I watched her putting it into her car and she treated that little dog like it was a piece of china. Well, I think my sheep are as good as china as well," he said.
He also claimed local farmers were culpable when it comes to their own dogs. "I'm giving those farmers in the Ballintrillick area [in Sligo]... a chance and I've walked the roads at 12 o'clock at night and seen these dogs coming out from around those houses.
"I'll not name them today but I will name and shame them in a week's time. And if I don't correct it through the media I will do it on a sign outside my house," said Mr McSharry.
He said the issue is not just about the killing of the sheep, but of dogs worrying sheep so close to lambing season.
Gardaí said they cannot comment on remarks made or attributed to any named individual. However, they said the requirements, responsibilities and limitations to use to those issued with Firearm Certificates in this jurisdiction are set down in relevant legislation.