Speaking in the wake of a number of high profile dog attacks on sheep and cattle Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada called called on dog owners to act responsibly and to ensure their dogs are kupt under control and away from livestock.
“The loss of sheep in a dog attack can be both distressing and financially damaging for a farmer as we have seen in several cases recently. I understand a farmer in my own part of Cork lost seven valuable pedigree ewes and a ram as a result of a dog attack. This week a calf was attacked in Tipperary, and I’ve heard similar stories in Clare, Kerry, Waterford and Wexford.
“Having met with farmers and farmers’ representatives including the IFA and ICSA I know that overall we are looking at 300-400 attacks every year, with up to 4,000 sheep killed or injured. They knock on effect on animal health, and on reproduction is also worrying.
“Dog owners must act responsibly. Whether a family pet or a work dog, they must make sure their animal is under control at all times and cannot get onto neighbouring farms. I know of a number of situations where children happened upon dead and injured sheep, and where much loved family pets have been shot or put down following an attack .
“There are no winners when it comes to dog attackson livestock. It can be deeply distressing and can really hurt farm businesses. The Gardaí and Dog Wardens are under pressure due to Government cut backs, and farmers cannot afford to suffer more losses.
“I urge dog owners in rural areas, and those who bring their dogs to the countryside to keep their animals secure and muzzled when off your property, and to ensure they are unable to roam free at night.”