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Gardaí investigating after dozens of sheep killed on farm in Co Offaly
The farm owner claimed the sheep were killed after being attacked by dogs.

LAST UPDATE | Dec 13th 2022, 8:44 AM

A GARDA INVESTIGATION is underway after dozens of sheep were killed on a farm in Co Offaly at the weekend. 

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, local man John Healy claimed the sheep died after being attacked by dogs. 

  • Our colleagues at Noteworthy want to investigate attacks on sheep and people by off-leash dogs.  Support this project here

 On Saturday morning, Healy’s mother contacted him to let him know that a lamb had fled to her garden, about a quarter of a mile away from the farm. 

Healy then sent his sons up to his field to check on the animals. This was when they discovered the dead sheep “everywhere” on the farm. 

He said his sons witnessed two dogs running away from the scene. 

There were 120 lambs in the field, Healy said, and that 50 had been killed. In a statement gardaí said they were investigating reports of an incident in which around 25 lambs were killed. 

“I never want to see what I saw there again,” Healy said. 

Healy said he is “pleading” with whoever owns the dogs to “please put them down because they will kill again”. 

“The dogs that came to me had one thing in their head and that was killing because it wasn’t hunger. There were no lambs ate, they were all chopped and killed,” he said. 

He said the surviving sheep are “terrified” and he believes they won’t thrive going forward as a result of the incident. 

Healy said he has experienced dog attacks over the years, but nothing on this scale.

“It’s devastating on our household, on our children. It’s just a nightmare,” he said. 

Gardaí at Roscrea are investigating the incident.

Enquires into the matter are ongoing, they said. 

‘Very distressing’

IFA Sheep Chairman Kevin Comiskey said in a statement that in another incident in recent days, 20 lambs were attacked by dogs in Kildare.

“The devastation caused by these attacks is shocking. For any farmer to go and check your stock and to find a scene like this is very distressing,” Comiskey said.

“It’s simply not good enough for dogs to be allowed to roam free and cause the level of damage that took place in recent days. We need stronger regulation around dog ownership,” he said.

Comiskey led a delegation to meet Ministers Heather Humphreys and Charlie McConalogue earlier this year and they put forward measures that are needed to curb dog attacks.

However, the IFA said it hasn’t seen progress on any of these proposals in the past number of months.

“The persistent failure of the authorities has frustrated farmers who have suffered significant losses as a result of dog attacks, and those attacks continue to take place across the country,” Comiskey said.

“There had been what seemed constructive discussions with Minister Humphreys and Minister McConalogue back in May, but we haven’t seen enough action since,” he said.

The IFA is calling for a single national database for all dogs in the country to be created that identifies the person responsible for the dog. It also wants tougher sanctions for those who fail to have their dog under their control at all times, and for those whose dogs are identified worrying/attacking livestock.

The Association has also called for additional resources to ensure compliance with the obligations of dog owners. 

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