A dozen sheep were slaughtered and a farmer pounced upon in a frenzied dog attack on Sunday morning.
Three dogs, two Labradors and an Alsatian, mauled the 12 sheep and left more injured in the Ballsmill area of south Armagh.
And councillor Terry Hearty has called on the owners of the dogs to come forward.
“The decent thing for the people who own these dogs to do would be to come forward,” he said.
“This is much more than a case of a farmer losing a significant number of his flock. This issue goes to the heart of responsible pet ownership and public safety.
“These three animals were clearly not closed in or tied up anywhere overnight and were left free to roam the countryside.
“They slaughtered a dozen sheep, injured others and have left an entire flock with effects they may not recover from.
“The stress of worrying by dogs can cause sheep to die and pregnant ewes to miscarry their lambs. Dogs chasing ewes and lambs can cause mis-mothering issues, with lambs dying from starvation or hypothermia when they become separated from their mother and fail to find her again.
He continued: “In addition to this family having lost a huge source of their income they had to go through the expense of getting vets for the surviving animals and the stress of removing animal carcasses from their property.
“Not only did the dogs attack the sheep, when the farmer saw them and tried to scare them off they turned on him. This was not a panicked attack by the dogs in the dark. It was broad daylight; 10am on a Sunday morning and they very deliberately made for him.
“He was extremely lucky to get away uninjured but it is no exaggeration to say that a young child out playing or somebody on their own out walking could have been very easily killed had these animals come across them.
“These are dangerous dogs and they must be kept closed in or tied up when not being supervised. It is selfish, irresponsible and dangerous to do otherwise. Thankfully, most dog owners are responsible but those who are not should not have them. We had a similar incident in the area this time last year when a local farmer almost lost his entire flock to a dog attack.
“I would urge the people who own these animals to come forward before they are found out. Similarly, if anyone has any information as to who owns these dogs I would ask them to come forward as well.
“Irresponsible owners of dangerous dogs put all of us at risk; don’t let it be your pets, livestock or, God forbid, children, that they attack next.”
*Picture for illustration purposes only
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