The Department of the Environment and the ISPCA have joined together to remind dog owners to act responsibly as we approach peak lambing season.

The Department of the Environment reminds dog owners that under the Control of Dogs Act they can be held liable for financial damage caused to farmers and costs can run to several thousand euro.

“Owners of dogs must be vigilant at all times, but especially now as we are in the lambing season,” said Minister Phil Hogan. “Whether you live in or near the countryside, or visit it for recreational purposes, I ask that you are on guard the whole time”.

He also reminded dog owners to be careful if they leave their dog out in the back garden at the end of the day for a ‘quick run and to do their business’ – this can result in even docile dogs joining with other dogs and partaking in attacks on sheep.

The ISPCA strongly urges dog owners to act responsibly and keep their animals under control around sheep and other livestock.

It has advised to not let pets roam freely in the countryside where they can inflict horrific injuries and suffering on lambs and ewes.

“Dog owners should also ensure that their dogs are secured at night. A dog attack on a flock of sheep, particularly during lambing season, can inflict serious damage in terms of animal welfare and may have financial consequences for dog owners responsible.”

Dr Andrew Kelly, Chief Executive Officer of the ISPCA, said: “We do not want to see any lambs or ewes distressed, injured or killed by dogs this spring. Nor do we want to see any dogs destroyed as a result. Losses to sheep farmers can be significant and distressing. We would like to remind all dog owners to keep their dogs under control around sheep and other livestock, particularly at this time of year when lambs are being born and are extremely vulnerable.”