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18 sheep killed in shocking dog attack


CALLCllr John O’Malley argues Mayo County Council need a second dog warden to help address sheep attacks.

Anton McNulty

One dog warden covering the whole county of Mayo is an ‘impossible job’ according to a West Mayo councillor who made the comments following a significant sheep kill in Aughagower.
Two farmers near the west Mayo village had a total of 18 sheep killed when they were attacked on a single night earlier this month. Many of the sheep were killed in the attack while others had to be put down by a vet because of their injuries.
The attack led to the local IFA calling on Mayo County Council to do more to prevent dogs from roaming and attacking sheep. There is currently one dog warden in Mayo and Independent councillor John O’Malley said the council should look at employing an extra dog warden.
“There is only one dog warden covering the whole county and given the size of Mayo it is an impossible job for one person. When I was in the council before [2004 to 2014] there was two dog wardens covering the county. It is a very difficult job for one person to cover the county and identify dogs who are out roaming and worrying sheep. Maybe it [getting a second dog warden] is something the council should look at,” the Carrowholly-based councillor told The Mayo News.
One of the farmers, Eamon Flynn, lost 15 factory ready sheep in the attack and told The Irish Farmers Journal that sheepdogs had been seen wandering around the land before the attack took place.
“I had noticed a group of sheepdogs wandering across our land the day earlier. We had a batch of 55 factory-ready lambs in one paddock and checked them around 1pm on Thursday.
“We returned on Friday morning to 12 dead and three with terrible wounds from the attack,” Mr Flynn said.
“Dogs can’t be let out free to wander overnight with the knowledge of the harm they can cause to defenceless sheep and lambs. The 40 lambs we have left have suffered from the shock of the incident and aren’t thriving as well as they had been before,” he said.
Padraic Joyce, the Irish Farmers’ Association’s Connacht regional chair said one dog warden was not enough to cover Mayo.
“We only have one dog warden in Mayo who is expected to keep attacks like these under control. Farmers never see a dog warden and the amount of dog owners caught in cases like these are minimal.
“Dog owners know this, and they will continue to let their dogs cause havoc unless the local authorities put measures in place. A good place to start is to have more dog wardens in each county,” he told The Irish Farmers Journal.
Cllr O’Malley said that in the past he has had sheep killed by dogs and it can be very upsetting for farmers.
“Some people think that it is okay to let their dog out in the morning while they are away at work. It is very important that dogs are under control during the day because owners don’t know where they go when they are at work. People might think their dog won’t kill but if they meet with other dogs that is when it might happen. We have had sheep killed and it can be very upsetting for farmers. Dog owners should not become lackadaisical and allow their dogs to roam,” he said.