Court case raises issues over dog attack legislation

IFA National Sheep Chairman Kevin Comiskey said there are a number of key messages from the recent case in Gort District Court taken by a farmer who had his sheep savagely attacked by dogs.

  He said the substantive message is the deficiency in the current legislative system for the enforcement of responsible dog ownership and dog control.

  “The level of sanctions that can be applied do not reflect the savagery and trauma these uncontrolled dogs are causing. The absence of a centralised database to identify ownership and those responsible for the dogs, and the lack of enforcement of microchipping, are all contributing to this persistent and escalating problem,” he said.

  Mr. Comiskey said a farmer who has had his flock savaged and his income decimated should not have to resort to the court system and risk the associated costs because of the failure of the authorities to have appropriate enforcement and sanctions in place for dog owners.

  He said the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue gave a commitment at the recent IFA AGM to put in place better legislation, and that his needs to happen as a matter of urgency.

  “The irresponsible behaviour of some dog owners continues to lead to devastating consequences on farms and must stop,” he said.

  “This is a critical time of year on sheep farms as lambing gets underway. Dog attacks are causing unimaginable suffering for sheep and lambs and huge economic losses for farmers.

  “Dogs should not be allowed in or near farmland and all dog owners must behave in a responsible way and adhere to this”.