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McGreehan highlights ‘very serious problem’ of dogs attacking sheep in Louth

McGreehan highlights ‘very serious problem’ of dogs attacking sheep in Louth

The chairman of the Louth IFA rural development committee has warned that there is a “very serious problem” of dogs attacking sheep in the county.

Matthew McGreehan made the warning following three incidents recently in which sheep died following attacks.

Last Wednesday a dog attacked a flock of 19 sheep in Dromiskin with one dying and the other having to be put down after being ravaged. The same farmer suffered another attack yesterday with another sheep killed instantly and another dying overnight.

Two further sheep were also killed recently following an attack in Bellurgan while there have been several cases of sheep attacks being reported in the Ballymakellett area.

McGreehan also said farmers on the Cooley Mountains were having ongoing issues with hill walkers. He said they were taking their dogs onto mountain trails and in some cases those dogs were chasing sheep.

He said that hill walkers were more than welcome onto trails in the Cooley Mountains but that bringing dogs with them was forbidden.

“I on behalf of the shareholders on the Cooley Mountains would like to ask hillwalkers to respect the Louth countryside code which states ‘No dogs allowed on the Cooley Mountains other than sheep farmers dogs’,” McGreehan said.

He emphasised the work done by Louth IFA, the National Trails Office and the local authority to open the Cooley Mountains to walkers and that shareholders could not accommodate dogs.

He said: “We have a very serious problem here in Co Louth because dog owners are not being responsible and are not keeping their dogs under effective control.

“Dog owners have toe be aware that dogs running free can kill or inflict a lot of damage to a flock through stress. Even if no animals are killed by an attack, the flock can be worthless and ewes can abort their lambs due to stress.”

He reminded dog owners that farmers have the right to shoot a dog attacking their flock.