Gardaí have issued a reminder to members of the public following “a number” of reports of dogs worrying sheep and wandering on farmland.
Cavan Monaghan Garda Division made an appeal on social media on January 13th, 2022 and Gardaí in Donegal followed on Monday, January 17th, 2022.
A spokesperson for Cavan Monaghan Garda Division said:
“Lambing season has begun, and the stress caused by dogs can cause sheep to miscarry, not to mention the damage that can be caused to sheep themselves.”
“Please, if you are a dog owner, always keep your dog on a lead when out walking in rural areas.”
“When at home, always make sure your dog is on your property and not allowed to wander,” the spokesperson concluded.
Fines and imprisonment
A spokesperson for Garda Síochána Donegal said:
“We wish to remind dog owners of the harm their pets can cause if let roam free or unsecured and not kept under effectual control.”
“With dog ownership comes responsibility. Secure your dog, have it microchipped and registered with your vet.”
“This time of year onwards, we see issues with sheep kills when dogs attack livestock. Dogs should not be allowed roam.”
“If your dog attacks animals on someone’s land, you could be held liable for the damages and face prosecution. The farmer is also within their right to shoot any animal that is worrying their livestock.”
“Prosecution under Section 9 of the ‘Control of Dogs Act 1986’ could result in one month in prison and/or €600 fine. Please keep your family pet under effectual control,” the spokesperson concluded.
The Garda National Community Policing Unit has developed an information sheet carrying key messages relating to dog attacks.
Firstly, it pointed out that dogs kill or injure over 3,000 sheep each year.
Gardaí highlighted that sheep are “valuable assets” and any harm to them “harms a farmer’s livelihood”.
“It is every dog’s instinct to chase, even if they are usually obedient and good with other animals.”
“Chasing by dogs can do serious damage to sheep, even if the dog does not catch them.”
“The stress of worrying by dogs can cause sheep to die and ewes to miscarry their lambs.”
Responsible dog ownership
Earlier this month, the ICSA’s Sean McNamara reminded dog owners not to become complacent when it comes to knowing where their pets are at all times.
He stated that attacks on sheep and lambs are “utterly” preventable with responsible dog ownership.
“I cannot stress enough how important it is for dog owners to be extra vigilant, particularly at this time of year,” he said in a statement.
“Every lambing season, we see the same carnage caused by dogs around the country. Any dog can cause mayhem with livestock if they are allowed to roam free.”