IFA warns after dogs kill sheep
'We have a very serious problem here in Co Louth because dog owners are not being responsible and are not keeping their dogs under effective control,' Louth IFA Rural development chairman Matthew McGreehan stated this week, following two incidents in which sheep were killed by dogs.
He was contacted last Wednesday evening by Brendan Hoey, Dromiskin who was very distressed after dogs attacked 19 sheep in a field close to Dromiskin village.
A neighbour raised the alert and when Brendan got to the field he found that a dog had ravaged two of the sheep, which were so badly injured that one died and the other had to be put down.
The other 17 sheep were severely traumatised after being run into a drain.
When he returned to tend to his sheep the following day, the dogs returned to launch another attack and he had to move them to a different field in the hope that they will be safer there.
In a separate incident, two sheep were killed by dogs in Bellurgan, and there have also been reports of dogs owned by hill walkers running after sheep at Ballymakellet.
'Dog owners have to be aware that dogs running free can kill or inflict a lot of damage to a flock through stress,' said Matthew. 'Even if no animals are killed by an attack, the flock or a percentage of the flock can be worthless, and ewes can abort their lambs due to stress.'
He said dog owners should be aware that farmers have the right to shoot a dog that is attacking sheep or if they believe a dog is coming from or about to attack sheep.
'The loss of sheep from a dog attack can be huge in terms of money, and the stress and annoyance it can have', he said.