An Armagh farmer has appealed to dog owners after three of his lambs were put down following an attack last weekend.
The farmer, based in the King’s Stables area just outside the city, says that his daughter discovered the horrifying sight at around mid-day on August 19 (Saturday).
They believe the attack had occurred in the early hours of that morning.
The farmer, who has asked to be kept anonymous, says that multiple sheep were affected and the wounds were so severe that three needed to be put down.
Recounting the incident, the farmer said that it was like something out of a “horror film”.
He explained: “We discovered the lambs covered in blood.. As a result I had to get the vet out to put them down.”
He says he was at the mart in Markethill when he received the call from his daughter who had discovered the scene.
“I came home and knew something was badly wrong,” he continued. “At that time she had only seen one of the lambs. The other two had been chased into the hedge.”
The police and dog warden were then notified, who said they would call out to check the area.
A spokesperson for the PSNI said that a report was received on Saturday, August 19, that a number of lambs were mauled in the Creeveroe Road area of Armagh.
They added that issues around sheep worrying are a matter for the dog warden to investigate and respond to.
While the facts haven’t been entirely established, the farmer believes that there was more than one dog involved and it is his worry that they may come back.
“The thing that would worry you more is that the dogs haven’t been caught yet. They’re still out there. When a dog does it once, they’ll always come back again. Once they taste blood that’s it.”
His fear is that there is not enough awareness around dog attacks on livestock and he has asked dog owners to be more aware of where their dog is and what it’s doing.
He said: “Some dog owners dont realise the harm and the viciousness of what their own dog can do. They need to keep an eye out on their dogs.
“Know where they are and don’t let them loose. Don’t be thinking ‘my dog wouldn’t do that’. Just make sure you know where your dog is at all times and if the dog arrives home covered in muck or blood they’d need to be going to the dog warden.”
He added: “It’s just totally out of your control. The person that owns the dogs really should be more responsible. The dog shouldn’t be let loose at any stage.
“It’s horrible to see animals suffering the way they’ve suffered. It’s unbelievable.”
A spokesperson for Dogs Trust said: “Around a third of all UK households now own a dog, and most dogs live harmoniously with their families without incident. Unfortunately, there does appear to be a rise in the number of dog bites and dog related injuries and there isn’t a simple answer as to why this is.
“There has been a large increase in the number of families owning dogs, and therefore the number of reported incidents is likely to rise. However, the increase also could be down to dogs not being able to access socialisation and training opportunities at critical stages of development during the pandemic.”
They added: “Dogs Trust would like to see a greater focus on interventions and solutions which reduce the risk of aggression occurring in the first place. We also want to see the existing dog control laws overhauled as they are currently not fit for purpose.
“Any new approach must be preventative, breed neutral and evidence based as research shows us that no breed of dog is more likely to be aggressive than another, and there is no evidence that the reported increase in dog attacks is down to one particular breed.”