Warning to dog owners during critical period for farmers
Dog owners in Mid Ulster are being urged by the Council to keep their pets under control to help prevent attacks, particularly on sheep with lambing season in full swing.
In a rural area like Mid Ulster, hundreds of farms are now busy with pregnant sheep or sheep with new-born lambs. It is a critical time of year for farmers.
Unfortunately, in previous years, there has been an increase in sheep worrying incidents and attacks during the spring months. These have resulted in the deaths of sheep and lambs, and dogs have also been shot dead because of attacks.
Thankfully, Mid Ulster District Council’s officers have experienced a lower number of reported incidents so far this year, but dog owners are still being warned of the dangers their pets pose, if they are not kept under control.
Councillor Sean McGuigan, who is Chair of the Council’s Environment Committee, called for dog owners to heed the warning.
“It’s a wonderful time of the year and there’s nothing like getting into the fresh air in the countryside for a walk with your dog,” he said.
“But we all have to be mindful of livestock, wildlife and people. If our dogs are not kept on leads and under control, they can cause havoc and serious harm.
“We have seen sheep and lambs killed in previous years and this can be very traumatic for the farmer who look after these animals all year round.
“Dogs which are not under control can also pose a danger to other dogs, as well as walkers and runners.
“If out for a walk please keep your dog on a lead and make sure your dog is kept secure during the day and housed at night.”
Dog owners are reminded that not only is it an offence to let a dog stray, but also that worrying livestock is a criminal offence.
The Council takes such reports very seriously and will prosecute any dog owner where evidence becomes available that their dog has been involved in worrying or attacking livestock.
For information on dog control and dog licensing and please visit the council’s website - www.midulstercouncil.org/resident-(1)/dogs-animal-welfare