Reports of sheep worrying sparks alarm among farmers

Gardaí in Cavan and Monaghan say they have received a number of reports in recent days of dogs worrying sheep and dogs wandering on farm land.

“Lambing season has begun and the stress caused by dogs can cause sheep to miscarry not to mention the damage that can be caused to the sheep themselves,” says a post shared on social media.

They add: “Please if you are a dog owner always keep your dog on a lead when out walking in rural areas. When at home always make sure your dog is on your property and not allowed to wander.”

A similar post has been shared in neighbouring Meath also.

Last year there were reports of sheep worrying in both Ballyjamesduff and Virginia, resulting in either death or injury.

Many of such attacks occur during the early hours of the morning.

ICSA sheep chair Sean McNamara suffered an attack on his own flock on New Year's Day 2020, January 1, where witnesses say two dogs were involved in the killing of four ewes.

Mr McNamara has a flock of several hundred ewes at this farm at Lismacaffrey in Co Westmeath, on the border with Longford and near to Finea.

In early 2018 Mr McNamara lost over 40 ewes during a six-week period, at the attack add to the growing list of such incidents, including those in Co Cavan.

In November 2019 meanwhile, Crubany farmer John Hewitt found two border collies devouring a lamb belonging to him. A second lamb was missing, presumed dead, and after neighbours intervened and one of the dogs was killed.

In 2019 also, Daphne Scott from Ballinagh was left devastated when her prized sheep had been attacked not once, but twice in the space of 12 hours.

In total, six sheep were killed, while a further six were injured. The following morning, a dog returned and killed one, while one of the injured also died.