18 JUN 2021
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Farmer’s plea to towpath users after lamb attacked by pet dog

9 June 2021

Dog owners have been urged to keep their pets on a lead when walking on the Canal towpath after a lamb had to be put down after being mauled by a loose pet.

The incident happened near Jerrettspass last week after a dog leapt into a field next to the towpath and attacked the lamb.

It belonged to a farmer in Jerrettspass who said the lamb suffered horrific injuries and had to be put down.

He said attacks on livestock have happened on a number of occasions in recent months.

“I got word that a lamb had been mauled on a meadow beside the towpath,” he told the Reporter. 

“I went down and its hide was pulled right over its backside - it must have suffered badly in the attack and I had no choice but to put the lamb down. It’s frustrating because you spend all winter working on them and then things like this happen. 

“But that’s not the first time it has happened down there - it has happened on a number of occasions. 

“Recently I was down with my son and a Labrador had a lamb in a shuck and he kicked the dog off the lamb and the owner of the dog then gave my son abuse for kicking her dog despite the dog attacking our lamb. This is what we have to put up with. It’s a disgrace.”

The farmer said he has no objection to people walking dogs along the towpath as long as they are kept on a lead at all times. 

He added: “They need to get their dogs on a lead so that they don’t run off and attack or frighten sheep in fields and meadows around the towpath. This sort of incident could easily be avoided by keeping dogs on a lead when on the towpath.

“If anyone knows of this or sees it happening, I would hope they would ring the dog warden because these attacks directly affect people’s livelihoods.”

Councillor David Taylor said the latest incident caused great distress to the family involved.

He warned that dog owners face prosecution if their pets are involved in such attacks. 

“This incident has obviously caused significant concern to the local farmer affected,” said the Ulster ist councillor.

“Not only has it resulted in a financial cost to him, but he is understandably distressed at the horrific injuries inflicted upon his sheep during the attack by a dog. 

 “These incidents are taken seriously by the council and dog owners may be prosecuted for such offences.

“A farmer can also pursue a civil case to recover any financial impact suffered through the loss of livestock.

“The attack occurred in a field adjoining the towpath and I would appeal to dog owners whenever they are walking their pets along this area to ensure that they are kept under control at all times to prevent this type of incident happening again in the future.”

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