IFA National Sheep Committee Chairman James Murphy said the IFA has set up a service for sheep farmers to report all dog attacks on sheep flocks on a national database. He said the telephone number to ring is 01-4260340.
James Murphy said the frequency of dog attacks during the lambing season is way too high and action must be taken by the Department of the Environment and the Department of Agriculture on the control of dogs and responsible dog ownership. He said he is aware of several cases of dog attacks happening on a weekly basis all over the country.
The sheep farmers’ leader said IFA is encouraging sheep farmers to report all dog attacks to the IFA. He said “this information will be used in the IFA campaign to get movement on dog control and responsible dog ownership”. IFA has taken the lead on this issue with a major publicity and awareness campaign in March involving radio, TV and press coverage in all the local and national media.
James Murphy said the IFA campaign “Do you know where your dog is” received a huge amount of media coverage and a major reaction from farmers and the general public. He said this campaign needs to be matched with action from the Department of the Environment and the Department of Agriculture both of whom have responsibilities in this area.
James Murphy said IFA has met with the Department of the Environment and put detailed proposals to them on action that needs to be taken regarding responsible dog ownership. These proposals range from education and publicity on the issue, to awareness in schools, support for dog wardens and identification issues.
The IFA sheep farmers’ leader reminded all dog owners that it is their responsibility to ensure that they are in control of their pets at all times. He said a dog attack on a sheep flock is extremely serious and can inflict savage injuries, often fatal. “Aside from the economic losses, for which dog owners can be held liable, the welfare implications for the flock can be very severe and long lasting. Sheep never fully recover from a dog attack and can suffer ongoing difficulties, including reproduction problems and increased nervousness affecting their general health.”
The IFA sheep farmers’ leader said under the Control of Dogs Act, it states very clearly “if a dog worries livestock, the owner or any other person in charge of the dog shall be guilty of an offence unless it is established that at the material time the dog worried the livestock for the purpose of removing trespassing livestock and that having regard to all the circumstances the action was reasonable and necessary. “
James Murphy pointed out that under the law farmers are entitled to take whatever steps are necessary to protect their sheep flocks against marauding dogs on their lands.
Contact: Niall Madigan (01) 450 1931/ 086 822 8635 Morag Devins(01) 426 0344/ 086 263 3940