IFA sheep chairman Sean Dennehy said people who are considering a dog for Christmas should think carefully about the decision.
“The biggest problem with dog attacks on sheep is the absence of responsibility among some dog owners. Anybody looking into a household pet should ask themselves if they are prepared to devote the time that’s needed to give a dog proper exercise under strict control,’ he said.
Sean Dennehy was part of an IFA delegation that met Heritage Minister Malcolm Noonan recently at which the issue of dog attacks on sheep was raised. ‘We raised the enforcement of existing regulations on dog control, including microchipping. Minister Noonan agreed to initiate engagements with the relevant agencies with a view to strengthening controls for dog ownership and better enforcement of existing obligations on owners,’ he said. Sean Dennehy pointed out that dog attacks remain a significant problem and can lead to devastation for the farmers whose sheep suffer an attack.
‘Unfortunately, I am taking calls on a frequent basis from sheep farmers around the country who have suffered attacks. There are far too many dog owners not taking the responsibility that goes with owning a pet. Dog owners have an obligation to have their dog under control at all times.’
The IFA sheep chairman warned dog owners who do not have their dog under control at all times must realise they could be held responsible for such attacks, with serious financial and legal consequences.
Sean Dennehy added that there must be better enforcement of existing legislation around dog ownership; more stringent fines for dog attacks; increased funding for the dog warden service and a single data base for microchipped dogs. All farm animals are fully traceable and so should dogs.