Minister McConalogue highlights the responsibilities of dog owners this lambing season

Published on: 27 January 2022

Minister McConalogue highlights the responsibilities of dog owners this lambing season


·         Latest figures show 240 incidents of ‘Livestock Worrying’ recorded by local authorities

·         Ministers announce start of awareness campaign ahead of upcoming lambing season


Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, has reminded dog owners of their responsibilities and the vulnerability of sheep to dog attacks, as lambing season approaches.

The Minister said the issue is one of grave concern to the farming community and that attacks on sheep are happening far too often in the rural countryside.

The latest figures compiled by local authorities show that there were 240 incidents of ‘Livestock Worrying’ in 2020 – with a similar number expected when the 2021 returns are completed.

Dog attacks cause serious injury or even death to sheep and can cause grave distress and financial loss for farm families.

Minister McConalogue today visited a sheep farm in South West Dublin where they announced the start of an awareness campaign that will run over lambing season.

Minister McConalogue added:


“Sheep worrying causes immense and unnecessary stress for farmers, and serious animal welfare issues for sheep and new-born lambs. Uncontrolled pets can decimate a flock within minutes, with reports suggesting that up to 4,000 sheep are killed or seriously injured in dog attacks every year.”


‘‘Dog owners must take responsibility for their pets, which must be under control at all times – remember, even the gentlest family pet can kill or maim sheep and lambs. Never let your dog out unsupervised, especially at night.”


The Minister added that responsible pet ownership is a priority for his Department. Advising that all dogs must be microchipped under the law.


“By law, every dog must be microchipped and the possession, movement, sale or supply of an unchipped dog is an offence. I am committed to working with Minister Humphreys to ensure sheep-worrying by dogs becomes a thing of the past, and our officials are working together to improve enforcement of the laws applicable to dogs.”


Finally, the Minister reminded anyone concerned about incidents of animal neglect or cruelty that they can contact the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine helpline by phone or on the dedicated email address.

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