Senator Paul Daly has called for a media campaign to raise awareness of dog attacks on livestock and on the issue of dog fouling on walking trails throughout the country.
The Fianna Fáil Seanad spokesperson for Agriculture, Food and the Marine raised the matter during a Seanad debate on Friday, February 12th.
He asked the leader to lend the support of the house to a request that the Joint Committee on Agriculture and the Marine has sent to the relevant ministers to recommence an awareness campaign regarding the “savaging” of sheep by dogs.
Senator Daly urged all councillors to raise this issue with their local authorities, which have ultimate responsibility for the Control of Dogs Act 1986.
Dog attacks on livestock
He referred to Garda figures, which suggest that at this time of the year, annually, there are approximately 400 attacks on sheep, which result in between 3,000 and 4,000 fatalities.
Another startling fact from the records, he added, is that it is compulsory and the law that one should have one’s dog on a lead when outside.
“Many people do not realise this. I do know during the current pandemic; it is vitally important that people out and get their exercise, but please keep your dog on a lead.
“People in areas where there is commonage land assume this to be public land. Commonage is land that is owned commonly by a group of farmers. It is not public land. Farmers do not mind people going onto their land once their dogs are under control.”
“And, finally, from an enforcement point of view, local authority, dog pounds, etc., there are approximately 800,000 dogs in Ireland. There are 217,000 licensed dogs, so this needs to be enforced.
“It is the law. I ask the leader to forward that message to the ministers to get the awareness campaign going first, and we may need to address the question of legislation at a later stage.” Senator Daly concluded.
Meanwhile, over the course of the weekend, a Louth farmer shot a dog after it attacked and killed a number of its sheep.
The IFA has said that this is a “stark” example of why the farm group is running its No Dogs Allowed campaign.