A Dublin farmer who was kicked unconscious after he confronted trespassers on his land is the latest victim of a gang using lurcher dogs as a cover while carrying out surveillance for a crime spree.
The thugs pretend they are using the lurchers to hunt hares while "sussing out" properties before a theft.
Gardai say several crime gangs are threatening violence to intimidate farmers to prevent them reporting incidents.
One gang is highly active in north Co Dublin and has also been involved in intimidation in Meath, Kildare and Wicklow.
Others have been concentrating on the farming community in the Munster region.
Now, the Irish Farmers Association is planning to launch a fresh campaign to fight back and will be seeking the help of gardai, county councillors and local community groups to stop the thugs.
The latest victim is Patrick Walsh (47), a father-of-three from Lispopple, Swords, in north Dublin.
He was left unconscious for 15 minutes when he confronted four men on his land with lurcher dogs on the evening of the All-Ireland Football final between Dublin and Tyrone.
Mr Walsh sustained four cracked ribs, a dislocated shoulder and facial injuries requiring stitches when he was kicked repeatedly on the ground about 150 yards from his home.
The farmer and agricultural contractor received a call from his mother, who lived nearby, to say she had seen men on the land.
He went to check and saw two men sitting in a car but they denied they had been on the farm.
He returned home and settled down to watch the BBC programme Countryfile with his wife and children when he spotted two men with lurchers walking through his herd of suckler cows.
"I jumped into the jeep and when I arrived there, I was confronted by one of the men," he said.
"I told him they were trespassing and one of them attacked me.
"I tried to defend myself and then the second of the two, who had earlier been sitting in a car, joined in and kicked me to the ground.
"They had a field day with me while I was lying on the ground and kept kicking me in the head and body until I became unconscious.
"When I woke up 15 minutes later, I didn't know where I was and then a neighbour arrived on the scene and I was taken to Connolly Memorial Hospital where a doctor told me I was lucky my injuries were not more serious.
"They are spineless b*****ds, but I will not be intimidated."