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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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VIDEO: ‘Their hearts give out even when a dog is just running after them’

Graeme Hall ‘The Dogfather’ and Warwickshire Rural Crime Team have featured in a video to highlight the importance of responsible dog ownership.

NFU Online released the video on its Facebook page on Saturday, April 3rd, 2021, with the caption: ‘Your dog might think they’re playing, but it could cause sheep to have heart failure’.

In the clip, Hall said: “Sheep worrying has always been quite a big problem, and I think there is a real feeling that it is on the increase.”

“I think there is a bit of a problem with the term sheep worrying because we just think worrying, well that is not very much.”

“Alternatively, we say sheep attacks, and then, perhaps, I think people are inclined to think well, no, my little Fluffapoo could never possibly attack a sheep.”

“But it does not need for a dog to attack a sheep in order to kill them. They actually get stressed out. Their hearts give out even when a dog is just running after them, in the dog’s mind, to play.” Hall added.

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Usain Bolt comparison

PC Jenny May-Royle, rural crime team, Warwickshire Police, commented on regulations surrounding sheep worrying and the pace at which such attacks can occur.

“The laws around sheep worrying are pretty straight forward actually. The offence happens when a dog injures a sheep, the dog’s out of control in the field, or the dog is chasing sheep.”

Continuing, Hall said: “You would be amazed by how quickly your dog could run after some sheep. You could not catch them. Usain Bolt’s hundred-metre record was 9.58 seconds.”

“A dog can do that in about 5. I don’t know about you, but I do not think I would be that quick. I think the answer is pretty clear, isn’t it? Keep your dog on a short lead if you are anywhere near sheep.” Hall concluded.

Video on responsible dog ownership:

What to do if a dog attacks your sheep

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has issued a set of guidelines for a farmer to utilise if they encounter an attack by a dog on his/her flock of sheep.

  • Stop the dogs;
  • Be aware of the law;
  • Inform the Gardai;
  • Ring the dog warden;
  • Contact the IFA;
  • Ring the vet;
  • Take a picture/Keep evidence;
  • Get a valuation of losses;
  • Inform your insurance company;
  • Tell your neighbours.

You can read more information on dog attacks on farms.

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