Acknowledging the launch of the awareness campaign for dog owners by Minister for Rural Development Heather Humphreys, Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) sheep chair Adrian Gallagher said the campaign is important to remind dog owners of their responsibilities.

He said the campaign rightly identifies owners as those ultimately responsible for the actions and behaviour of their dogs and for ensuring their dogs are under effective control at all times.

“The irresponsible behaviour of some owners has and continues to cause devastation on sheep farms. This is unacceptable and must stop.”

'No dogs allowed'

The IFA will continue with its policy of ‘no dogs allowed’ on or near lands where animals are kept, as this is the only way to prevent the horrific attacks on sheep that occur across the country, the farm organisation said.

“The awareness campaign launched by the minister is certainly helpful, but, in reality, we need much more robust enforcement on the ground of the obligations of dog owners,” he said.

“There must be a significant increase in the numbers of dog wardens throughout the country and the sanctions must be increased further for those found not having their dogs under effective control,” he concluded.

The reminder comes as a Tipperary farmer lost 10 sheep to a dog attack earlier this month.