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pet safety appeal Plea to dog owners after sheep flock mauled in Tipperary

The plea came as it emerged that sheep flocks are now attacked on average every 36 hours by either lone dogs or roaming dog packs across Ireland.

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DOG owners have been urged to secure their pets at night after a sheep flock was mauled in Tipperary.

The plea came as it emerged that sheep flocks are now attacked on average every 36 hours by either lone dogs or roaming dog packs across Ireland.

Department of Agriculture statistics indicated that Ireland suffered at least 253 sheep attacks in 2019 - as the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) said their estimates put the number of attacks at between 300 and 400 each year when unreported cases are taken into account.

The latest incident occurred in north Tipperary on farmland between Ballywilliam and Carrigatogher between Christmas and New Year's Day.

It followed an horrific attack in Waterford last December when 26 in-lamb ewes were either killed or badly injured by dogs.

In the Tipperary attack, one ewe was mauled to death while five others were injured.

A number of sheep are still missing following the attack.

It is unclear if a single dog or multiple animals were responsible.

North Tipperary IFA Chairperson Imeda Walsh issued a special appeal to dog owners to control their pets.

“Unfortunately no matter how much we plead with dog owners it continues to happen,” she told TippFM.

“Dog owners need to be mindful that they are responsible for their animals in relation to compensation to the owner of that flock of sheep.”

“I would just say to owners in that area to know where their dogs are at night. And unfortunately once a dog attacks a flock of sheep they continue to do it and usually there’s more than one dog involved.”

“Once they get the taste of blood the dog continues to attack the sheep.”

On average across Ireland, a sheep flock is attacked by dogs every 36 hours.

Some attacks result in multiple sheep deaths or injuries - with a loss to the flock owner running, on occasions, to several thousand Euro.

Farmers warned that dog owners need to realise their pets, if left unsecured at night, are capable of travelling up to 15km per day.

Ireland currently has a sheep flock of almost four million head.

The greatest number of sheep farmers are located on holdings along higher ground in counties including Donegal, Mayo, Galway, Wicklow, Kerry, Cork. Louth and Wexford.

Department of Agriculture figures indicated the greatest number of dog attacks occur annually in Mayo, Louth, Wexford and Tipperary.

The majority of attacks occur outside towns and villages – despite the fact the greatest concentration of dogs is in Irish cities.

Farmers warned that once a pet dog gets a taste for blood, it will continue to target sheep flocks in the area. A number of dogs worrying sheep flocks have been shot over recent years.

Sheep are particularly vulnerable at the moment as Ireland approaches the lambing season which runs from February to April. Ewes heavily pregnant with lambs are exceptionally vulnerable to dogs.


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