GARDAÍ HAVE issued a stark warning to dog owners after a rise in the numbers of dog attacks on livestock.
Since March of this year, Gardaí have dealt with almost 50 reports of dogs worrying or attacking livestock across Ireland, and have today reminded pet owners that they are liable for any damage.
Farmers are also well within their right to shoot any animal worrying or attacking their livestock, Gardaí warned.
In one incident in Meath, a farmer shot and killed two dogs after he caught them attacking his sheep; six sheep had been killed and two more injured.
In another incident in Leitrim, a dog attacked seven sheep on a farm. The owner of the pet was identified and had to pay expensive damages to the farmer, and their family pet then had to be put down.
Speaking of the importance of keeping your dog in your own property at all times, Garda Inspector James White said:
"If your dog goes and attacks animals on someone’s land, you could be held liable for the damages and face prosecution. The farmer is also within their right to shoot any animal that is worrying their livestock.
"Whilst you might think your dog is friendly and placid at home, they can cause horrific injuries to other animal.
"We would ask that everyone ensures their dog is kept under control as nobody wants to see animals being harmed.”
Incidents have occurred in almost every county in the Republic of Ireland, with Gardaí stating attacks have been reported to them in Sligo, Leitrim, Galway, Tipperary, Roscommon, Longford, Kildare, Meath, Cork, Donegal, Wexford, Cavan, Monaghan, Westmeath, Mayo, Limerick, Kerry, Kilkenny, Carlow, Laois and Offaly.
Owners face up one month in prison and/or €600 fine if their animal is found attacking livestock, under Section 9 of Control of Dogs Act 1986.