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Worrying of Livestock by Dogs

The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Shane McEntee TD, today drew attention to the damage and distress that arise from attacks by marauding dogs on farm livestock, particularly sheep.

Each year, particularly but not exclusively around lambing time, roaming dogs create a serious menace to sheep.  Even the family pet can cause great distress to sheep, including pregnant ewes and lambs and it is essential that dog owners do everything possible to prevent such attacks as uncontrolled dogs can decimate a flock in a very short period of time.

Minister McEntee drew attention to the heavy penalties provided under the law for negligent dog owners, pointing out that they may be found liable for damages and costs in a civil action. In addition, dogs may be shot by the owner of the animals which are subjected to attack.  Thus the potential consequences of failure to keep dogs under control can have serious financial and emotional impact on dog owners and their families, in addition to the obvious effects on sheep and lambs and their owners and keepers.  Apart from the cruelty and distress suffered by livestock, the financial losses to farmers can be very considerable.

The Minister appealed to all dog owners, particularly those living near farms, to ensure that their dogs are kept under control at all times and particularly at night, so that the suffering and death caused to sheep and lamb flocks can be avoided.  The Minister advised dog owners to contact their local authority if they require information on dog control, particularly licensing, or to refer to the leaflet issued by the Environmental Information Service (ENFO).

Date Released: 15 December 2011