The IFA has warned dog owners to keep them under control at all times, as marauding dogs can inflict horrendous damage on a sheep flock.
IFA National Sheep chairman John Lynskey said the country’s 34,000 sheep farmers are currently preparing to lamb down 2.4 million ewes, adding that pregnant ewes on the point of lambing are particularly vulnerable to dog attacks.
Mr Lynskey said recent dog attacks have been reported to IFA from flock owners in counties Wexford, Wicklow, Offaly and Galway. He pointed out that dog owners are responsible for ensuring that their pets are under control at all times and can be held responsible for losses involved in dog attacks, with serious financial and legal consequences.
Mr Lynskey said statistics collated by IFA indicate that the problem of dog attacks on sheep may be in the order of 300 to 400 attacks per annum, with 3,000 to 4,000 sheep injured and killed. He said data on dog attacks gathered by the IFA shows an average of 11 sheep killed or injured per attack.
He said farmers have a right to protect their flock, in accordance with a number of legal provisions.