EIGHT hunting dogs were shot dead in Broadford on Wednesday, following attacks on sheep on two farms.
Clare dog warden, Frankie Coote has told The Clare Champion that the beagles and cross bred dogs were hunting under supervision but broke away and attacked sheep, killing two and injuring several more.
“More than likely a deer brought them through the land and once they came on the young lambs, this is the height of lambing season. Even supervised if they come on a deer, it can bring them anywhere. That’s what we believe happened. There are a lot of deer in O’Callaghan’s Mills and Broadford. The owner was with them when they lost them. This is unusual for hunting dogs to do this but all dogs will do it,” Mr Coote explained.
“There was two farms. One farmer was alerted and he went to his farm. Four of them were shot attacking the sheep. Then they went up to check the neighbour’s farm and there was four more of them up there, attacking other sheep. There could be consequences for weeks because all of those sheep were ready to lamb. You don’t know now whether they’ll have dead lambs or other problems,” the dog warden added.
One person owns all eight dogs and while the matter has not been reported to gardaí, Frankie Coote says that he is “following a definite line of enquiry.”
He said that the farmers were legally entitled to shoot the dogs.
“That’s completely legal once livestock has been attacked. The landowner can shoot the dogs once he notifies the dog warden or the Gardai immediately. They contacted me and I went down and removed the carcasses. I’m now in the process of meeting the owner. You only bring the Gardai in if there’s a threat to you,” he said.
Mr Coote noted that he has never come across this amount of dogs being shot together prior to this.
“This is the most, although I’ve seen dogs shot that did a lot more damage. The reason there wasn’t more damage was the simple fact that the farmers were alerted and came on them. Otherwise the dogs would have slaughtered what was there. There is no winners in this,” he reflected.
By Peter O’Connell