Laois had the highest number of sheep attacks by dogs recorded to an IFA Hotline in 2012, according to the ISPCA Dog Warden Supervisor.
Aiden Corcoran, made a presentation to councillors following a request from Cllr Marty Phelan following several serious sheep attacks in the county earlier this year.
Earlier this year, the IFA and the Department of the Environmen joined forces to raise public awareness about the responsibility of dog owners and the vulnerability of sheep flocks to dog attacks in spring.
Statistics compiled from calls to an IFA hotline since last year’s lambing season show that sheep flocks in Laois, Donegal, Roscommon and Wexford have suffered most from dog attacks.
According to those statistics there were 155 recorded incidents in Laois, but Mr Corcoran pointed out that not all incidents were reported to the IFA.
He told members that there were 22 sheep attacks reported to the pound with 28 sheep killed or injured.
“But there were a lot more sheep worried. When dogs attack they do horrendous damage and it affects hugely on the farmers incomce.”
Mr Corcoran recalled an incident in Mountmellick in late December/early January where as many as 18 sheep were killed near Mountmellick.
“Some had to be put to sleep by the vet they were so badly damaged. But this was a €4,000 loss to the farmer.”
The Dog Warden Supervisor said that 9 out 10 times these attacks are carried out by a family pet.
“Often the dogs that carry out these attacks are someone’s pet, but stray when the people are at work or at night”.
He continued: “When the mandatory microchipping is introduced in 2016, it will introduce more accountablility on the dog owner and there will be a reduction in the number of sheep killed,” Mr Corcoran said.
He showed some images of sheep that had been attacked to the councillors, but warned them that they images were very graphic.
“The images were horrendously graphic, I couldn’t look at the screen,” Cathaoirleach Mary Sweeney commented after the presentation.
Mr Corcoran said there had been a 20% reduction in the number of dogs, brought to the pound, in Ballacolla, who are put to sleep in the last three years and an increase in the number of dogs rehomed.
There was also a small reduction in the number of dogs brought to the pound last year, compared to 2010.