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Farmers 'losing patience' over sheep deaths from dog attacks

The Irish Farmers Association wants to see controls implemented to tackle “irresponsible dog ownership”.

Image: Eamonn Farrell

FARMERS ARE “losing patience” waiting for a solution to sheep dying as a result of dog attacks.

Twenty sheep died in Co Tipperary in the last week due to dog attacks, the Irish Farmers Association says.

The association wants to see Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue implement controls to tackle “irresponsible dog ownership” as a priority.

IFA Sheep Chair Sean Dennehy said farmers’ patience with authorities on the issue is “fast running out”.

“The Minister for Agriculture must advance controls and enforcements for negligent dog owners,” Dennehy said.

He said there should be a “single national database for all dogs in the country that identifies the dog owner who is responsible”.

“There must be appropriate sanctions in place for those who fail to have their dog under control at all times, and for those whose dogs are identified worrying/attacking livestock,” he said.

The IFA Sheep Chairman said the lack of action from the Government and local authorities to put appropriate sanctions in place to deal with the irresponsible behaviour of dog owners is unacceptable.

In February, the IFA launched a “No Dogs Allowed” campaign that encouraged farmers to put signs on farm gates refusing access to walkers with dogs.

Some sheep are directly injured by dogs or frightened into ditches or drains.

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In cases of non-fatal injuries, farmers sometimes put a sheep down following an attack because of the extent of the injuries.

The Department of Rural and Community Development has responsibility for policy and legislation on dog control.

In 2019, local authorities recorded 253 incidences of livestock worrying by dogs, including 27 in Mayo, 22 in Louth and 20 in Wexford.

Under the Control of Dogs Act, the owner or person in charge of a dog is guilty of an offence if the dog worries livestock on agricultural land.

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Lauren Boland

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