Calls for tougher dog control laws in wake of midlands sheep kill

The IFA is calling for tougher dog control laws in the wake of an extensive sheep kill in the midlands over the weekend in which 50 sheep were killed by dogs.

Offaly County IFA Chairman, Pat Walsh, from Cloghan, said if dog owners are not prepared to look after their dogs in a responsible manner they should either “surrender them or have them euthanized.”

Describing the sheep kill in Moneygall, and reports of a second sheep kill in county Kildare, as “sickening and deeply distressing” Mr. Walsh said there was “a huge surge” in dog ownership during the Covid lockdowns and now that people have returned to “a level of normality” these dogs have become “secondary” to the lives of many pet owners, and are being allowed to roam around both urban and rural areas.

“Dog ownership brings responsibility and in this case, the dog or dogs who carried out this attack need to be put down as they now have a taste for blood and they will attack again, and it could be a child next time” warned Mr. Walsh.

The IFA Chairman made a strong appeal for the owner of the dogs involved in the Moneygall sheep attack to “come forward as soon as possible” and added that the owner of any dog that has killed another animal “needs to take the final step and have him euthanized” to prevent him from killing again.

He also called for tougher dog control laws to be implemented, particularly in the area of trespass on land or onto other people’s property. “We can’t have a situation where people have no control whatsoever over their dogs and allow them to just roam and wander anywhere they like” said Mr. Walsh.

The Offaly County Chairman of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), William Reid, also condemned the Moneygall sheep attack and said gardai “do not have enough powers” to intervene in such incidents. He also joined in the calls made by the IFA for tougher legislation to be implemented around the whole area of dog ownership and control.

Meanwhile, An Garda Siochána in Laois/Offaly joined with the IFA and the ICSA in issuing a Facebook appeal over the weekend to dog owners to keep their dogs “under effectual control.” They advised dog owners to secure their dogs, have them microchipped and also to have them registered.

“We continue to see issues with sheep kills when dogs attack livestock. Dogs should not be allowed roam. We regularly see community groups alerting each other about dogs missing or roaming. Please keep your family pet under effectual control” said the Garda post.

Gardai in Roscrea have confirmed that they are continuing to investigate all the circumstances around the weekend incident in Moneygall which resulted in 50 sheep being killed.