Livestock worrying has become an epidemic of violence, according to Carol Nolan, an independent TD for Laois-Offaly. She stated that approximately 4,000 sheep are killed or seriously injured in dog attacks every year, a fact that both ministers responsible for dog control accept. Despite repeated promises, farmers fear that it will take years for the government to address the situation. Nolan emphasized that these attacks are not just a minor issue or a natural aspect of farming life. Instead, they are a continuous and annual assault on the livelihoods of farmers. She urged the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, to take immediate action and implement a zero-tolerance message on this issue.
Farmers are facing significant financial damage due to the devastating and distressing attacks on their livestock. Nolan stressed that severe penalties need to be enacted to reflect this situation. She said that farmers do not need more expressions of grave concern from the government. Instead, they need immediate action and a properly resourced enforcement regime to tackle livestock worrying effectively. Nolan added that farmers can almost set their watch to the annual ministerial press release on this issue, but when it comes to follow-up and enforcement, they are still waiting for change.
Recently, a dog attack occurred in Magheroarty Dooey, Co. Donegal, where several sheep were driven into the ocean, leaving some dead and others missing. Amid these horrendous attacks, the sheep chairs of two of the country’s largest farming organizations have advised farmers to shoot dogs if they are worrying sheep on their land. Sean McNamara, sheep chair of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), said that dog attacks on sheep occur somewhere in Ireland nearly every day now. He also stated that farmers are entitled to shoot the dogs, and until the law is changed, with more dog wardens and tougher fines, it is the only option that farmers have at the moment.
The issue of livestock worrying is not new, and farmers have been suffering from it for a long time. However, the recent increase in attacks has highlighted the need for immediate action to tackle this problem. The government must take this issue seriously and prioritize it. The lack of enforcement and follow-up on this issue has left farmers feeling that their livelihoods are at risk.
The government must act now to address the issue of livestock worrying. It must implement a zero-tolerance message and enforce severe penalties to reflect the severity of the problem. This will send a strong message to dog owners that they must take responsibility for their pets and prevent them from attacking livestock. Additionally, there must be more dog wardens and tougher fines to ensure that dog owners are held accountable for their pets’ actions.
In conclusion, the issue of livestock worrying is a severe problem that requires immediate action from the government. Farmers are suffering significant financial damage due to these attacks, and the lack of enforcement and follow-up has left them feeling that their livelihoods are at risk. The government must take this issue seriously and prioritize it by implementing a zero-tolerance message and enforcing severe penalties. By doing so, it will send a strong message to dog owners that they must take responsibility for their pets and prevent them from attacking livestock.