State inaction on dog control is ensuring heavy losses for sheep farmers

Inaction by the Government in delivering meaningful dog control measures is resulting in heavy losses on our sheep farms the Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) maintains.

In addressing this, President Colm O’Donnell stated “how at national and county level we are seeing a complete abdication of responsibilities by the powers that be, resulting in no control of dogs and no responsibility for their irresponsible owners.”
Referring to previous concerns outlined by the organisation in 2019 relating to a scattered Governmental approach to the control of dogs the INHFA President stated “how no concrete action has yet been taken to address this.”

In 2019 the organisation was informed how the control of dogs was covered by three Government Departments with licensing covered by the Department of Community and Rural Development (now the Department of Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands), with microchipping the responsibility of the Department of Agriculture . Meanwhile the county councils who employ the dog wardens were under the control of the Department of Environment and Local Government (now the Department of Housing Local Government and Heritage).

This scattered approach which continues today is, stated O’Donnell “undermining any serious attempt in controlling dogs and leaving our sheep farmers in limbo.”
Through 2019 the INHFA consulted widely with our member base prior to making a submission to the Government on the control of dogs.

In that submission ” we stressed the need for responsible dog ownership and detailed what this involves. We also called for a State backed media campaign to remind dog owners of their responsibilities and the implications for them and the public (including sheep farmers) of not controlling their dogs.”

In discussing details relating to the proposed media campaign, O’Donnell stated “how the organisation detailed the need for this campaign to commence in January to coincide with an annual licensing drive.” The campaign he added should include TV, radio, print and social media.”

There is, he concluded “an urgent need to bring all responsibility for dogs under one Government Department and by applying the proposals the INHFA have made, we can address the scourge of dog attacks of sheep flocks.”

See the full submission below…