Saintfield farmer Cllr Robert Burgess calls for more dog control during lambing season
A Saintfield farmer is calling again for dog owners to keep their dogs under control during the lambing season.
Cllr Robert Burgerss who run a farm on the Ballynahinch Road outside Saintfield said: “Every year farmers lose sheep through attacks by dogs.
“This is a huge loss to the farmer off and a lot of hard work is often lost down the drain through sheep worrying. The Ulster Farmers Union is also very concerned about this as it happens year on year.
“If a ewe is pregnant and is chased it could lose the lamb and this is a serious welfare issue.
“Far too often people put their dogs out onto the street or they just wander off out of their gardens, and they can travel long distances and encounter livestock in the fields near their communities.
“Large dogs will chase and also bite sheep. It’s an instinct in them and all too often it ends up in tragedy.
“I have occasion to shoot a dog on my farm several years ago when it was worrying my sheep.
“I had no choice. Surprisingly small dogs such as Jack Russells can be quite vicious as they bite the sheep in the throat area and cause severe bleeding and even death.
“Sheep worrying is a perennial problem. It is amazing than a dog owner may be quite oblivious to the damage caused by their dog and the carnage to a flock. So dog owners need to understand this is a problem that needs to be addressed.”