Thirty sheep mauled to death by pet dogs

May 11, 2015

The killing of thirty sheep in a recent dog mauling incident near Crossmaglen has prompted police to remind dog owners of their responsibilities to keep their pets under control or face prosecution.

The owner of the sheep has been left counting the cost, and not just in financial terms, of the horrific slaughter carried out on his farm at Cregganbane during last week.

Apart from the obvious distress suffered by the farmer, the loss of his livestock will amount to thousands of pounds, Councillor Terry Hearty has said.

Mr Hearty said the attack was carried out by two domestic dogs that had “slaughtered them at ease”.  He helped the owner remove the dead animals, which included a number of lambs, and tend to others which were badly injured.

Calling on all pet owners to be aware of where their dogs are at all times and to keep them inside or tied up when they are left alone, he said: “Not only has this caused the farmer thousands of pounds but you can imagine the distress and horror caused when he first came upon the scene.  Some of the animals had been completely destroyed.

“Lambing season has just finished and, like all farmers, he had spent weeks checking on his animals at all hours of the day and night, ensuring lambs were born safely so you can imagine how heartbreaking this has been.

“It is vitally important that people make sure they know where their animals are at all times.  If you aren’t at home with them, they need to be tied up or locked in.  It’s no good seeing them in the mornings or evenings, you need to be sure of where they are at all times because they can do a huge amount of damage in a relatively short time.  I cannot stress enough how important it is, especially at this time of year.  If allowed to roam the countryside they can cause total devastation to flocks.  Not only does this threaten a friend or neighbour’s livelihood but it can also end up costing you thousands of pounds,” he added.

Councillor Hearty said a number of such attacks had occurred over the past few months and each time the dogs involved had been family pets and not wild animals.

In the wake of the incident, police reminded dog owners of their responsibilities.

Inspector Lorraine Dobson said: “Responsibility for dogs lies with their owners and they must ensure that dogs are secured and are only on property which they have permission to be on.

“Subject to Act 29 (1) under the Dogs (NI) Order 1983, if a dog worries livestock the keeper of the dog and, if it is in the charge of a person other than its keeper, that person also shall be guilty of an offence.”

Anyone with information or concerns about livestock worrying can contact the South Armagh Neighbourhood Team on 101.