IFA Sheep Chairman Sean Dennehy said the latest attack on sheep in Co Louth exposes the failings of the authorities to properly enforce the control of dogs.
“The farmer had no option but to shoot the dog. However, some of his sheep were killed and he’s left with the cost and trauma associated with a dog attack. As it happened over the weekend, there was no dog warden available,” he said.
Sean Dennehy said IFA has repeatedly asked the Government to put serious resources into microchipping and an adequate dog warden service, but it hasn’t materialised.
“The horrendous impact of the attack is compounded by the absence of any support for the farmer. The failure of successive Governments to tackle this issue has left farmers exposed to irresponsible dog owners,” he said.
IFA’s campaign to ban dogs from farmland will continue until we see significant changes in this area.
All dogs are legally required to be micro chipped and have a licence. This requirement is not enforced, but as farmers we must register and record every animal on our farms on a national data base.
The latest report on the implementation of the Control of Dogs Act shows only 217,261 dogs are licensed out of an estimated 800,000 dogs in the country. The reality is nobody knows how many dogs there are because of the lack of enforcement.
Sean Dennehy said there must be a national ownership database for all dogs that allows those responsible for them be identified. There must also be appropriate sanctions to act as a deterrent for those who allow their animals to cause this devastation on sheep farms and there must be resources put in place to enforce these sanctions.
He said this is an issue that effects all sheep farmers and it’s not confined to people who are out walking dogs. Frequently, these attacks on sheep are as result of dog owners allowing their pets roam free while they are away at work, or at night time. Dog owners are responsible for having their dogs under control and must be accountable for them at all times.