Thursday, November 30, 2017

A LOCAL farmer has been left counting the cost after 13 of his sheep were savagely killed by dogs near Castledermot on Thursday last 23 November.

It’s the second time Pat Burke’s flock has been attacked in the space of a year. He said the problem has become so common that “generally every year we would have an attack and maybe one killed.”

This latest attack was the most savage to date. “We had 10 ewe lambs killed by dogs, 10 killed outright and three badly torn,” he explained. “I have gone to the guards in Castledermot, they were very helpful,” he remarked.

Mr Burke said while the visible damage is serious, the longterm affect on the flock is worse. “What’s left in it are absolutely terrorised,” he explained. The vet who arrived after the attack warned Mr Burke that more sheep were likely to drop dead in the coming days. “The heart just gives out on them,” he explained.

No-one can even quantify the extent of the damage. It is not going to be known for a long way on.

The initial cost is big but the actual secondary cost is actually bigger because you have sheep that lack in thrive and pine away,” said Mr Burke.

As the dogs involved are still on the loose he also has to now think seriously about whether or not to let pregnant ewes onto the land. It’s a huge problem, he said. “We had four or five killed last year a couple of miles away.”

On the day of the latest attack, two dogs were spotted on the land, along with two dead sheep. “The person that spotted them hadn’t the presence of mind to put two and two together,” said Mr Burke.

He alerted neighbouring farmers through the text alert system following the attack. He believes it’s important that not only local farmers but also local pet owners know how bad these attacks can be.

Mr Burke urged dog owners to be responsible.“it is not the dog’s fault, the dogs’ instinct by nature, is a killer. It is the owner’s responsibility to know where their dog is,” he remarked.

The cost of the damage to Mr Burke’s flock is somewhere around €2,000 but that is likely to rise due to the harm caused to his sheep and the associated costs of changing the way he farms to avoid future attacks.

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By Eoghan MacConnell
Contact Newsdesk: 045 432147

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