IFA Sheep Chairman, John Lynskey has reminded all dog owners, including farmers, that they need to microchip and register their dogs by 31st March 2016.
Under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013, introduced by Minister Simon Coveney, all dogs must be microchipped and registered on an authorised database by March 31st 2016.
John Lynskey also reminded dog owners that they have an obligation to keep their pets under control at all times and can be held responsible for losses involved in dog attacks, with serious financial and legal consequences.
He said dogs can inflict horrendous damage on sheep flocks. He said country’s 34,000 sheep farmers are currently lambing down 2.4m ewes and pregnant ewes on the point of lambing at this time of year are particularly vulnerable to dog attacks.
According to an IFA survey conducted late last year, the average cost of a getting a dog microchipped at the vet is €25, though the cost ranged from €12 to €30 in the practices surveyed. Some vets include a health check in the cost of the microchipping service and others may offer a discount for a number of dogs.
The IFA sheep farmer leader said a spree of dog attacks have been reported to IFA from flock owners in counties Wexford, Wicklow, Carlow, Offaly, Longford and Galway. Statistics collated by IFA indicate that the problem of dog attacks on sheep may be in the order of 300 to 400 attacks per annum, with 3,000 to 4,000 sheep injured and killed. Data on dog attacks gathered by the IFA shows an average of over 11 sheep killed or injured per attack.
John Lynskey said, “Unfortunately, I am taking calls on a frequent basis from sheep farmers around the country who have suffered attacks. There are far too many dog owners not taking the responsibility that goes with owning a pet. Dog owners have an obligation to have their dog under control at all times.”