Appeal to dog owners after third sheep kill in Cooley
Dog owners have been urged to make sure they know where their pets are at all times after sheep were savaged by dogs in three separate attacks in Cooley before Christmas.
'Everyone says that their dog isn't a killer but if a dog is running free it can be a killer,' says Matthew McGreehan, IFA branch chairman for the Cooley area. 'People have to realise how important it is to keep their dogs under control and not to let them go outside their own boundaries.'
He has also called for a hard hitting advertising campaign to help raise awareness of how much damage dogs can cause when they attack sheep, particularly coming up to the lambing season.
'It's not just the sheep that they kill but ewes who are in lamb can abort the lambs days or weeks later due to the stress,' he explains.
In the latest incident, Sean Malone lost two sheep when a dog attacked eight sheep in a field at Mucklagh on Christmas Eve.
One ewe was killed at the scene while another was badly injured by the dog that it had to be put down.
The alarm was raised by a young girl who saw a dog in the field with the sheep around 4.30pm.
By the time Sean got to the field, one sheep was dead and the others were all bitten, one so badly that it had to be put down.
Due to the trauma of the attack, there is a risk that the other ewes may abort in the coming weeks.
'Incidents like this are happening all around the country on a daily basis because people are not looking after their dogs,' says Matthew McGreehan. 'Apart from the devastation caused to farmers finding sheep which have been brutally savaged, there's the financial aspect as a ewe is worth €200 or more if in lamb.'