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ISPCA warn dog owners to keep their pets under effective control around sheep and other livestock

22nd January 2019

The ISPCA are reminding pet owners that they are liable for injury or damage caused by their dog to people or to livestock.

Walking your dog outdoors in the countryside is a great way to keep fit. However, the ISPCA is highlighting the importance of keeping all dogs on a lead and under effective control both day and night.


Sheep that try to escape from dogs are often very seriously injured or killed during their panicked attempts to escape, also causing damage to fences and field boundaries.

The farming community see horrific dog attacks to their flock which cause harm to sheep, pregnant ewes and lambs, and cause huge difficulty to farmers during lambing season from January through the spring.

Please remember that this is a farmers’ place of work and that their livestock is their livelihood.

ISPCA Chief Inspector Conor Dowling said:  “Pet owners must be responsible and ensure the welfare of the dogs, sheep and vulnerable lambs are protected at all times. A dog’s natural instinct can be to chase, and even the most docile, well-behaved dog may take part in pack behaviour. Pregnant ewes can be injured in a panic to escape from chasing dogs, often miscarrying their lambs. Or worse, they are fatally injured causing serious suffering and damage and devastation to farmers. Under the Control of Dogs Act 1986, as amended by the Control of Dogs Act 1992, it is an offence not to have your dog under effectual control and local authorities are responsible for enforcing the control of dog’s acts.”

In certain circumstance farmers may be legally entitled to shoot dogs if they are endangering livestock on their property so if you live or walk near a sheep farm, you must ensure your dog is under control and also cannot escape from your property at any time.

The ISPCA is also reminding dog owners that it is a legal requirement that dog are microchipped and puppies once 12 weeks of age. 

It is important dogs are also vaccinated and neutered/spayed which are key components to responsible pet ownership.

If you do see a dog that appears to be a stray, please report it to your local Dog Warden https://www.ispca.ie/useful-info/dog-warden-info/ or in the case of an emergency, please contact your local Garda Station.

If you see anything suspicious or believe an animal is being cruelly treated, neglected or abused, please contact the ISPCA National Animal Cruelty Helpline in confidence on 1890 515 515 or report online here http://www.ispca.ie/cruelty_complaint

Photos by Michelle Griffin

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