A MOUNTMELLICK farming family were faced with devastating scenes over Christmas week when they found two alsation dogs maiming and killing some of their sheep flock.
In total six sheep were killed by the dogs and another eight had to be put down after the attack. Many more were treated for injuries including a number of ewes in lamb.
The attack happened on the morning of December 27 at about 8.30am. Speaking to the Express, Claire O’ Brien said that she and her husband Henry Burns saw ewes in their garden that morning and knew something was wrong. When they went to investigate, they saw that two alsations had corralled about 10 of their sheep in one small area.
“There were four dead or dying and they had been bitten around the neck and head. It was unbelievable to see the savagery. People have no concept of the damage their pets can do”.
Claire said that she and Henry couldn’t get out of their car or near the dogs as they were too vicious. Eventually the dogs were caught and the Gardaí and dog warden called out. One of the dogs was shot but the second got away. The dog warden service is actively involved in finding the owner of the dead dog.
She said that aside from the sheep killed, many were in lamb and it was now a question of whether they would have healthy delivery of their lambs this year.
“We don’t know whether they will keep their lambs. We would have an average of 1.6 lambs per ewe, some have one, two or even three each. We wouldn’t expect that would happen now”.
Speaking to the Express, Chief Superintendent John Scanlon said that Gardaí were very concerned about sheepkills.
“We would urge people to take control of their dogs and keep them away from worrying sheep at this critical time of the year. People should also make sure they have licences for their dogs”, he said.
IFA National Sheep Chairman James Murphy stated that the latest series of savage dog attacks on sheep flocks must lead to dog owners taking greater responsibility. He said that the latest cases are becoming all too common.
“Dog owners have an obligation to have their dog under control at all times. Under the law farmers are entitled to take whatever steps are necessary to protect their sheep flocks against marauding dogs on their lands.”