The LSPCA have appealed to dog owners to keep them under control, after a disturbing video was released showing three dogs attacking a ram on a farm in Mountmellick.
While the farmer went to get help, his son recorded a video of dogs cornering a frightened ram and biting it. The ram was badly injured.
A week before, a lamb was killed by dogs on the farm, and several ewes savaged.The LSPCA want dog owners to keep them under control at all times.
“You may not think that your dog could do this, but when they get into a pack, the adrenalin can lead them to do things you would not have thought them capable. The killing of sheep and pregnant ewes is a big loss to farmers not to mention the suffering of the poor animal,” they say.
Laois IFA’s sheep rep is Joe Whyte.
“The problem is particularly bad near towns like Mountmellick, Rathdowney, Ballinakill and Mountrath. People can’t imagine that their family dog can do this. It causes terrible hardship.
“If the pregnant ewes get chased, the lambs become twisted or can miscarry, incurring extra vet costs. If the lambs are attacked, they don’t thrive afterwards,” he said.
Cllr Lisa Delaney from Mountmellick fears further attacks, even on people.
“Owners need to keep their dogs in a safe environment, if they can’t, they shouldn’t have dogs. I am afraid it could lead to further horrendous attacks on not only sheep but on children, cyclists and motorists,” she says.
The Labour Cllr has heard accounts from farmers seeing sheep “being pulled asunder”.
“It’s very distressing to see ewes and lambs going through this barbaric cruelty. It’s the same farmers time and again who suffer the loss of their animals in brutal savage attacks.
“There have been up to forty sheep killed in the last couple of weeks in the Mountmellick area. This is a heavy financial loss,” she says.
It is an offence to have a dog on agricultural land worrying livestock. The IFA have issued a new protocol to farmers, stating that a dog can legally be shot by the farmer on his land if it is “worrying or about to worry livestock” and there are no other reasonable means of stopping an attack.