Co Armagh family counts the cost of dog attack: UFU

Victor Chestnutt
Victor Chestnutt

The Ulster Farmers’ Union says that it is disappointed that a rural family in County Armagh are left dealing with the aftermath of a livestock worrying incident which has killed nine sheep with three other sheep needing to be euthanized by a Veterinary Surgeon due to the severity of their injuries.

Reflecting on this incident, UFU Deputy President Victor Chestnutt said: “Despite the UFU and DAERA having embarked upon an increased awareness campaign to highlight the importance of responsible dog ownership in the countryside, dogs have yet again made an attack and while this incident has seen a number of sheep killed, ten in lamb ewes have also been left traumatised. Unfortunately the possibility that they may now abort their lambs is a very sad reality.”

This most recent attack reinforces the need for all dog owners to ensure that their dogs are not permitted to roam freely in our countryside.

Mr Chestnutt said: “It is a harrowing sight to see poor defenceless animals such as sheep fall victim to dog(s) and I again appeal to all dog owners to ensure that their pet(s) are kept under control at all times when near livestock. This also includes taking the necessary steps to prevent a dog(s) escaping from their home.”

With the Christmas holidays almost upon us, many people will visit the countryside and the UFU are warning that all dogs must be kept under control.

“Dog owners need to remember that if their pet does engage in a livestock worrying incident causing harm they also tamper with a rural family’s livelihood, I would encourage all farmers to ensure that any such attacks are reported to the relevant authorities,” concluded Mr Chestnutt.

The UFU have identified the need to introduce specific legislation to Northern Ireland to address such incidents, which have increased in recent times. This includes the need to engage in DNA testing of those animals suspected to have been involved in such attacks. The UFU will continue to work with other stakeholders with the aim of reducing incidences of livestock worrying in Northern Ireland.