A total of 10 ewes and lambs have been killed following a recent incident involving two stray dogs at a County Limerick sheep farm.
Noel Woulfe, who raises 160 sheep in three fields on his farm in Ardagh, also suffered a dog attack last October in which he lost eight ewes.
The breeder was devastated to learn that his herd suffered a similar ordeal again last Thursday (April 28).
“Me and my son went to see the sheep and when we came down we noticed they had all gone from a field.
“He said, ‘I’m going up to see the sheep in the upper field,’ and then he called me and said, ‘Dad, there are two dogs here tearing up the sheep,'” Woulfe said. Agriland.
The farmer said the two large-breed dogs were biting the animals’ throats. The panicked herd was driven into dikes and through gates and fences during the attack.
Woulfe said he contacted the person he believes owns the dogs, who then managed to catch one of them.
As a result of the dog’s attack, the sheep farmer lost four ewes and six lambs. He is now concerned about the welfare of the rest of the herd.
The sheep farmer called on dog owners to be more responsible for their pets.
“I saw a lone terrier a few years ago attacking sheep. He was just a small house dog and he was able to knock them out. You couldn’t believe what a little dog can do. I just urge people to be very careful, especially where there are sheep,” he said.
Gardai confirmed Agriland that they are “investigating an incident in Newcastle West, Co. Limerick in which a number of sheep were attacked on April 28, 2022”.
Chairman of the Limerick Executive of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Sean Lavery, said the dog attack was a ‘brutal affair’ and ‘traumatic’ for the farmer, his family and the animals .
“It’s a terrible shock when you go out in the morning and see sheep being attacked by dogs,” he said.
“Dog owners need to know where their dogs are at all times. They should assume that if their dog misses it, it might roam the countryside, especially in areas where there are sheep.
“A pack of dogs could work together and hunt sheep for fun. The dogs that were going to hunt and kill a sheep actually washed themselves before coming home. You would never have suspected what evil they had been prepared for.
“So I would ask dog owners to always know where their dog is and to make sure they are properly restrained at night.
“Additionally, all dogs must be microchipped so that if any dogs are apprehended, they can be found,” Lavery said.
Limerick’s IFA president has called for the creation of a central database of dog owners, as well as additional funding and resources for the dog sitter service.