Dogs Owners Must Act Responsibility When Near Livestock Warns Agri-Minister

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Dog owners are reminded of their responsibilities and the vulnerability of sheep to dog attacks, as lambing season approaches.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue says the issue is one of grave concern to the farming community and that attacks on sheep are happening far too often in the rural countryside.

The latest figures compiled by local authorities show that there were 240 incidences of ‘Livestock Worrying’ in 2020 – with a similar number expected when the 2021 returns are completed.

Dog attacks cause serious injury or death to sheep and can cause serious distress and financial loss for farm families.

The Government today announced the start of an awareness campaign that will run over lambing season.

Minister McConalogue added: “Sheep worrying causes immense and unnecessary stress for farmers, and serious animal welfare issues for sheep and new-born lambs.

Uncontrolled dogs can decimate a flock within minutes, with reports suggesting that up to 4,000 sheep are killed or seriously injured in dog attacks every year. 

The Minister added that responsible pet ownership is a priority for his Department. Advising that all dogs must be microchipped under the law and all dog owners must have a licence for their dog.

The Control of Dogs Acts 1986, states that the owner or any other person in charge of a dog that worries livestock is guilty of an offence. 

Separately, Section 21 of the Control of Dogs Act states that the owner of a dog shall be liable for damages associated with an attack by the dog on a person or livestock.