Fianna Fáil’s Robbie Gallagher believes that Ireland must tackle the issue of dog attacks “once and for all”.
Gallagher said that “many” farmers across the country have had the “horrendous” experience of finding their animals, be they cattle or sheep, savaged by stray dogs.
He pointed to figures from 2020, which show that there were 241 such instances. However, he added that farmers are of the “firm belief” that the true figures are “much greater”.
“There is an awful lot of non-reporting because farmers are not convinced that the authorities are taking this seriously,” the senator said during a debate on Wednesday, January 19th, 2022.
Also, he told the Seanad that farmers provide full traceability for 7 million cattle and 3 million breeding sheep.
“Every animal is individually tagged and traceable to the person responsible or the owner. Contrast that with an estimated 800,000 dogs in this country, of which only 208,000 are licensed,” he said.
“That leaves 600,000 without identification. In 2020, there were only 82 prosecutions, and 198 dogs were seized under the Control of Dogs Act 1986.”
He stated that these figures indicate how “serious a problem we have”.
“Farmers are very frustrated that the authorities are taking a very lax attitude to this problem.”
Issue of dog attacks
He said that owning a dog, as we all know, is a responsibility that one needs to take seriously. Unfortunately, he added, many dog owners do not do that.
He said that owners need to microchip and ID their dogs. He called for “proper and appropriate” sanctions for owners found to be non-compliant and to allow their dogs to stray.
Furthermore, he stressed that Ireland needs “proper” resources to help those who are enforcing the law in this regard.
Concluding, ahead of lambing season, he called on Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, to update the chamber on the status of the promised legislation for this issue.
Meanwile, Gardaí have issued a reminder to the public following “a number” of reports of dogs worrying sheep and wandering on farmland.