Sheep killed in three separate dog attacks in Louth over Christmas

Farmers urge tighter dog control and laws to force dog-owners to take more responsibility


At least 13 sheep have been savagely killed in three separate dog attacks on four farms across Co Louth over the Christmas period.

Farmers are now calling for tighter controls on dogs and tighter laws to force dog-owners to take more responsibility after the attacks.

A total of 13 sheep were killed in the incidents and farmers are watching the rest of their scared flocks closely in case some abort lambs due to fear in the coming days. Other sheep may have to be put down because of their injuries.

The killings occurred in Riverstown and Greenore on the Cooley Peninsula and in Monasterboice, near Drogheda.

Marauding dogs

In one incident, marauding dogs ripped the heads off their kill.

One farmer from Monasterboice, who does not want to be named, is counting the costs after what is the second attack on his sheep in just six months.

“It’s an ongoing thing that’s happening regularly here. A neighbouring farm lost six sheep and had to put two others subsequently down in an attack on his farm a few years ago.

“The law doesn’t really help you, in my opinion. Dog-owners can pay for the losses and then just get the dogs back.”

He lost two sheep to marauding dogs on Christmas Day and fears others will abort their lambs in the coming weeks because they are so scared.

“All dogs can be a danger to sheep. The bigger pack dogs will attack until they kill but even the smaller breeds like Springers, Collies and Terriers will keep biting at the sheep.

Potential killers

“Dog-owners often refuse to accept that their pet has killed. People’s mindsets need to be changed to realise that all dogs are potentially killers.”

Sean Malone, who farms 100 sheep near Greenore, lost one sheep and will possibly have to have a second put down after an attack on his farm on Christmas Eve.

“I had eight sheep in one field and got a call at 4.30pm to tell me that there were dogs worrying the flock. By the time I got down, one sheep was dead and the others had all been bitten.”

IFA branch chairman for the Cooley region Matthew McGreehan is calling on the Department of Agriculture for tighter laws and a new hard-hitting TV campaign in an effort to get the message across.

“Apart from the devastation caused to farmers, it’s a huge financial loss of €200 per sheep, more if they are in lamb,” he said.

“Dog owners genuinely think their dog couldn’t possibly be a killer and that’s the problem we face.”