FARMER Tommy Winston made a grim discovery at Ballinlough, a few miles outside Ballyhaunis, last week. A total of 46 purebred sheep had been savaged by dogs during the night. The matter was brought to his attention by a passer-by early on Saturday morning.
The scene that greeted Tommy was traumatic. Half of the flock of 95 had been torn apart, killed or had to be put down. Five sheep were still unaccounted for some days after the attack. The Ballinlough farmer estimates the financial loss at around €20,000.
Neighbours say this is one of the worst attacks on sheep in the area in living memory. It is understood that as many as seven dogs could have been involved and people in the farming community are again being asked to be extremely vigilant at this time of the year.
Farming leaders have called for new regulations and guidelines. James Murphy of the IFA says the dog owners must be held responsible for their animals and accountable for losses resulting from their activities on farms.