A number of very serious incidents of attacks by dogs on flocks of sheep in County Kilkenny in recent months was raised in the Dáil by Fine Gael Deputy John Paul Phelan.
Speaking on the new Animal Health & Welfare Bill, 2912, he said some anecdotal evidence suggested that some of the dogs in question may have been dogs that had been in pounds or shelters and were taken by people who did not have the wherewithal to look after them.
“There is strong evidence to suggest that some of the dogs belonged to families that may have been relatively new to rural areas and did not understand the dangers associated with owning a dog in a rural area if that dog is not controlled,” he said. In the cases of which he had spoken a great deal of damage was done to the sheep and the farmers suffered great financial loss and distress.
“As a young child I saw sheep that had been attacked,” he said. “It was not a pleasant sight. I ask that the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy Coveney, in conjunction with the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Hogan who is responsible for dog pounds and the regulations governing such premises around the country, to embark on a renewed campaign of education of people who own dogs, in particular in rural areas.”
Some 25 years ago when he was growing up there was an advertisement on television in regard to dogs attacking sheep, he added. “I call on the Minister, Deputy Coveney, and the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Hogan, to ensure the introduction of a new public advertisement and education programme alerting people living in or adjacent to the countryside who own dogs, and those wishing to take dogs from the pound and give them a new home, of the potential for danger in this regard and the consequences for them of not controlling their dogs,” he said. “It is unacceptable that dogs would be left uncontrolled resulting in havoc being wreaked on other animals, in particular sheep.”