With lambing season upon us, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is reminding dog owners and walkers to keep control of their dogs when near livestock.
Worrying livestock, especially sheep during lambing season is a very serious concern for farmers.
Whilst worrying of livestock can involve attacking or killing, it also includes the chasing of sheep or cattle. Chasing by dogs can do serious damage to livestock, even if the dog does not catch them. The stress of worrying by dogs can cause sheep to die and pregnant ewes to miscarry their lambs causing financial loss to a farmer. This financial cost can be substantial, with the loss of valuable stock, veterinary care, abortions in attacked and frightened animals and damage to property.
Over the period April 2018 to March 2019, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council (ABC Council) received and investigated 26 complaints of worrying livestock. Unaccompanied dogs and dogs not under control can be involved in livestock worrying incidents, ABC Council is reminding dog owners to act responsibly and ensure their dog is under control at all times and in particular kept secure at night.
Stressing the importance of responsible dog ownership, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Mealla Campbell said,
“While we know that the vast majority of dogs are well looked after and are friendly, family pets, it should be recognised that it is every dog’s instinct to chase, meaning all dogs have the potential to inflict injury and to worry livestock. This worrying of livestock especially sheep during lambing season is a very serious concern for farmers and we urge dog owners to always act responsibly by keeping their dog under control.”
ABC Council has the authority to seize any dog (of any type and breed) suspected of being involved in worrying or attacking livestock, owners may be prosecuted for any offences and a court may order the dog to be destroyed. A civil case may also be brought by the farmer for any financial loss suffered.
ABC Council responds to all incidents of dog worrying or attacks and anyone who witnesses a dog worrying or attacking livestock is encouraged to report this by telephoning 0300 0300 900.