During lambing season, which generally lasts from February to March in Ireland, we must remember to supervise our dogs at all times. It is reported that every year up to 4,000 sheep are killed or seriously injured in dog attacks. Their vulnerability is heightened at this time of year.
According to the Irish Examiner, 268 livestock worrying incidents were reported in Ireland in 2022. Minister Humphreys said, 'Attacks by dogs on livestock cause huge emotional and economic harm to our farming families. It is vital that we promote responsible behaviour so everyone can enjoy the countryside without causing harm to farmers' livelihoods'.
Stress and worrying can cause the death of either or both the unborn lamb and the pregnant ewe. We are responsible for our pets and any harm that they may cause to others. We need to make sure that they are safe, secure and supervised at all times.
Any dog, even your family pet can worry and stress out sheep if they find themselves in a field with them. Attacks on sheep have a devastating impact and can happen in a matter of minutes! Incidents of sheep-worrying reach hundreds annually. Don’t let your dog add to the numbers!
The Control of Dogs Act was amended last year (2023) to raise the potential on-the-spot fine for a dog owner whose dog is found worrying livestock from €100 to €300.
Let's be over-cautious during lambing season, and together we can make this a thing of the past.