Home News Crime Laois Crime Prevention Officer on sheep attacks and responsible dog ownership

Laois Crime Prevention Officer on sheep attacks and responsible dog ownership

In this week’s Laois Today Midweek Podcast we had our Monthly Crime Prevention slot with Sergeant Graham Kavanagh.

This month the topic of the day was dog safety and how to be a responsible dog owner.

Graham said “since last year dog ownership has increased dramatically, and what we’re seeing quite a lot of is people not really cognizant of the responsibilities and what’s entailed of having a dog.

“Dogs need a lot of attention and need a lot of looking after.”

Sheep Attacks

One of the areas of concern around dogs is sheep attacks.

“We see them here in Laois an awful lot. We have plenty of sheep farmers, something like 34,000 sheep farmers in the country.

“Every year we see numbers of animals being attacked, losing their lives or being seriously injured, or aborting because of dogs chasing them.

“Dogs aren’t coming from Dublin, they’re not coming from far away, they’re generally coming from within our own communities, they’re local, they’re neighbours dogs getting into a pack and then causing distress.”

Graham told the podcast there are between 300 to 400 attacks reported every year.

“You’re looking at either kills or serious injury to livestock, particularly sheep. This is an issue for our livestock and has serious costs and ramifications for a farmer.

Effectual Control 

Graham said the most important thing is having effectual control over your dog, meaning you have proper and effective control of your dog.

“You know where your dog is 24 hours a day and your dog doesn’t have free rein.

“I know it’s a very emotive issue when we talk about the family pet and what damage it can do.

Graham insists that while you might think you can chance letting your dog off the lead, they may act differently from when they’re at home.

“Is the dog going to come back to you when they call it? That’s the fear, it goes running, and then you lose it, and it’s the damage it’s going to do when it when that happens.

Graham says it is important to remember, even if it is a puppy, a child may not be strong enough to hold a dog on a lead.

“If it bolts on the lead, it’s going to pull the child.  I know the kids want to walk it, but you have to balance.”

Responsible Dog Ownership 

Responsible dog ownership means that you are obliged to know the law in relation to the dog.

“Since 2005, your dog is supposed to be microchipped and registered.

“Unfortunately, what we see is people registered microchipping a dog, but might not register it, or maybe buying a dog and not checking to make sure that the registration details have been updated to the current owner.  If a dog is stolen, or is lost, that’s the way we get the dog back to you.

“People need to be stepping up to the mark and complying with the regulations.

“There needs to a collar on the dog with identifying details to contact the owner, and a lead.

“It’s 20 euro a year for dog license, and you can do that online now, there’s no excuse, it’s the simplest thing to do.”

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Sarah Cullen is a Journalism and New Media graduate from the University of Limerick. A Portlaoise native, she is happiest when tweeting and talking about dogs.