Ballymoney Borough Council has warned dog owners that they must keep their pets secure to avoid any further instances of sheep worrying coming into Spring and Summer.
Jeremy Callan, Council’s Environmental Warden, told the Times: “Once again it is the time of year when farmers have sheep out in their fields and who hope for a successful and trouble free lambing season.
“Unfortunately, this season has come with an unusually high incidence of sheep worrying by dogs. In many instances, this has resulted in considerable financial loss to the farmer.
“On Thursday 22nd January, Council received a report via the PSNI of a sheep worrying incident in the Rosnashane area.
“The dog responsible for the sheep worrying was in the field when the farmer arrived to check his livestock. In order to protect his flock, the farmer had no option but to shoot the dog.
“Out of 35 Texel cross sheep which were in the field most are now lame, many having had their ears ripped and all will require injections to prevent the spread of any infections.
“Thankfully, on this occasion, none of the sheep was in lamb but this does not lessen the seriousness of the incident as the animals are now stressed and requiring medication.
“On the other side of the coin is a dog owner who has lost their dog to a violent end and will no doubt mourn the loss of the pet for some time to come.
“Ballymoney Borough Council would like to take this opportunity to remind all dog owners that we live in a very rural part of the country and it is imperative at all times, and in particular this time of year, to make sure that their dogs are kept secure whilst at home and when walked must be on a lead.
“Failure to do so may result in the dog getting away and causing untold damage to livestock and risking the chance of their pet meeting an untimely end,” he concluded.