Recent proposals announced by Minister Heather Humphreys on dog control have been slammed by the Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) who have described the Ministers proposals as tokenism.
Speaking on this INHFA Vice President John Joe Fitzgerald stated “how ongoing farmer concern around dog attacks has not been listened to or if it has the Minister has chosen to ignore it.”
“For sheep farmers the most devastating thing that can happen is to have their flock attacked and mauled by dogs and unfortunately this is happening way to often” said Fitzgerald.
When proposals for an inter-departmental committee to examine the issue of dog control were outlined, we were, stated Fitzgerald “hopeful that real proposals backed by a substantial budget to ensure enforcement would accompany this. However, what we have got is a token effort with no recognition of concerns detailed by farmers both on our lowlands and on our hills, where the problem is exacerbated by some hill walkers that defy requests to not bring dogs onto our hills.”
Staying with the issue of hill walkers, the INHFA Vice President detailed “his concerns around the abuse farmers are getting when they try and prevent people bringing dogs onto their lands.” This abuse, he added, “is getting to a dangerous level and it is incumbent on the Minister and Government to recognise this and act before it’s too late.”
In concluding, the INHFA leader challenged the Minister to look again at the proposals stating that it doesn’t matter what the fines are, if there aren’t enough resources to enforce them then nothing will change and that is unacceptable.”