Kerry County Council is to begin mapping dog attacks on sheep.

The council has agreed to map areas in the county where dog attacks on sheep are reported to the local authority in 2024.

This comes as 10 sheep were killed by dogs on Sunday night/Monday morning outside Killarney.

Councillor Fionnán Fitzgerald, who brought forward the mapping motion, said a dog attacking sheep in his own locality before Christmas prompted the idea.

“A map would identify the areas where it’s occurring the most, which would help identify where there are dogs being unmonitored or uncared for during the night," he said.

Mapping these attacks, Cllr Fitzgerald added, will allow Kerry County Council to utilise resources in these areas.

Pinpoint resources

“If an area is highlighted as being particularly exposed to dog attacks, that can help the local authority to pinpoint their resources, go door to door to encourage and ask people to make sure their dog is microchipped and to monitor its whereabouts.

"It can also allow the council to highlight such areas on social or local media.

“That would hopefully prick the conscience of dog owners to say, I need to make sure my dog is accounted for at night.

“A map would go some way towards alleviating the problem,” he added.

Area monitoring system

The councillor also proposed that Kerry County Council would write to the Department of Agriculture to ask if its area monitoring system (AMS) could be used to investigate dogs responsible for attacking sheep.

“If the Department of Agriculture was to liaise with the companies running the microchipping system [of dogs], a farmer who has experienced a dog attack could contact the Department of Agriculture and ask, ‘Could you go back over the AMS with a view to identifying the microchips of the dogs that were in the field overnight?’

“If GDPR could be worked in that regard, we could find ourselves with a system to identify what dogs were in the field in or around the time of an attack,” he said.

Cllr Fitzgerald said he acknowledges GDPR issues around this, but “where there’s a will there’s a way”.

This motion is currently being considered by members of Kerry County Council.