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Dog Owners Urged To Mind Their Pets In The Wicklow Uplands During Lambing Season

Wicklow County Council has launched its awareness campaign to remind dog owners of their responsibilities and the vulnerability of sheep to dog attacks during lambing season. 

The Council is working in partnership with the IFA, Wicklow Uplands Council and Wicklow Outdoor Recreation Committee to raise awareness of the issue.

 Mr Tom Byrne, Wicklow IFA Chairman, welcomed the collaboration with the relevant parties, stating: “This is a critical time of year on sheep farms as lambing season is now upon us.  It is the time that sheep flocks are at their most vulnerable to incidences of worrying and attacks by dogs and where dog attacks are causing unimaginable suffering for sheep and lambs and huge economic losses for farmers.” 

The following guidelines should be followed by all dog owners living or visiting farmland areas to ensure that they continue to play a crucial role in making them a safer place for all to enjoy. 

·      Please observe and respect local signage and leave dogs at home if accessing land where livestock are present or close by. Some landowners forbid dogs entirely, whereas others including the state, may request the use of leads.

·      In situations outside of the home, dog owners must legally ensure that their dogs are under ‘effectual’ control at all times. Attacks on sheep can result in financial losses to the farmer, for which the dog owner can be held liable.

·      The presence of dogs, even with playful intent, can cause great anxiety within a flock of sheep. During the winter months this can prevent ewes from coming into season. In lambing season it is the main cause of stillbirths and miscarriages, which can occur 2-3 days after contact with dogs.  

·      Please respect and be aware of wildlife as the presence of dogs can disturb ground-nesting birds and other animals during the breeding season.

·      Know where your dogs are at all times – attacks often occur at night  

·      Report wandering dogs and suspicious sights to your local authorities.

·      Make sure that your dog(s) are registered and microchipped and that a current licence is in place for each of them – this is now a legal requirement for ALL dogs.

·      Dog fouling is the responsibility of the owner. Please collect and dispose of all faeces in an appropriate manner – this includes plastic bags used in the process. Failure to clean up is a public health concern and is an offence under section 22 of the Litter Pollution Acts.

·      Share this advice with others.

·      Enjoy and experience nature responsibly and respectfully.

 Reporting of Incidents:
If you witness an incident of sheep worrying or damage to livestock in Wicklow, please report it immediately to Wicklow County Council.

It is important that all incidents be reported as soon as possible following the incident.  Call:  0404 -20236 or email  env@wicklowcoco.ie

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