New Ross Standard - - NEWS - By DAVID TUCKER

TWO hunt­ing dogs were shot dead by a farmer af­ter they sav­aged at least half of the 110 sheep in a flock graz­ing in a field at Barn­town.

Farm man­ager Gus Con­nick said the dogs chased the flock for sev­eral hours, killing and wound­ing the sheep and driv­ing them into ditches, fences and a river where some of them drowned. Five sheep are still missing.

Mr Con­nick said the at­tack was the worst of three sim­i­lar in­ci­dents within a few miles ra­dius in re­cent months.

‘ The fu­ture of sheep farm­ing is not look­ing good for me,’ he said.

He said the first he knew of the frenzied at­tack was around 5 a.m. last Thurs­day when he got a call say­ing sheep were run­ning in the field and the fam­ily who owned the field, could hear dogs bark­ing.

‘When we got there, we found some of the sheep had gone out over ditches and more had got down be­side a big river val­ley in bri­ars and trees. It was 10 a.m. by the time we found the dogs which were still killing sheep at that time,’ said Mr Con­nick, farm man­ager for Cam­ross-based Orna Fo­ley.

He said five sheep had been killed by the dogs, oth­ers were badly in­jured and had to be put down, and some had aborted dur­ing the chase by the dogs, two Point­ers.

‘ There were 110 sheep in the field and about half them were at­tacked. It was very stress­ful,’ he said.

‘ The sheep are ab­so­lutely worth­less now be­cause they are too badly dam­aged. They are not fit for hu­man con­sump­tion and are not fit to breed,’ he said.

‘ The dogs be­longed to a young chap in a gun club. He had taken the dogs out to wa­ter, but they ran off and wouldn’t re­turn. He had gone out search­ing for them, but couldn’t find them.’

Mr Con­nick es­ti­mated that the farm has lost more than €7,000 as a re­sult of the at­tack and the costs of em­ploy­ing ex­tra peo­ple to re­cover the sheep and carry them from rivers and hedges where they had been driven by the dogs.

Gus Con­nick and son Tommy on his farm with some of the sheep that were at­tacked by dogs.

One of the wounds in­flicted by a dog.

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