The killing and worrying of sheep has caused great concern for farmers in the Garvary area with many now on high alert in fear of repeat attacks in the area.

There have been reports over the last week among the farming community regarding the worrying of animals with flock owners reporting injuries, and one flock owner reporting a fatality.

Describing the circumstances, the flock owner said: “For us, it happened yesterday morning [Tuesday] just after 9am. One of the farm workers was down in the yard grabbing silage and saw the whole sheep running.

“He went up to see what was going on, and the lambs came down the yard running for safety, so he went to try and gather them up, and he did see the dogs, but of course when they saw him, they ran away.”

After the sheep were spooked, those working at the farm began looking for their flock: “We brought most of the lambs down to the yard and counted them, and realised there was six not there, and we went looking and only got five, so we had a fair idea there was a fatality.

“We went looking round the boundaries and there was a lamb there, dying.

“Once we knew the dogs were away, we checked the other sheep and two were injured; one was bleeding from its back passage, and there was another ewe with blood on its neck.”

Referencing similar attacks in the area which have caused anxiety in the past week, the flock owner added: “We have been watching out for these dogs.”

Wishing to raise awareness of the impact of animal-worrying on the livelihood of farmers, the flock owner said: “It’s one less animal for the mart; those sheep [that were attacked] were not in lamb, but we have more sheep that are in lamb, and if it happened to them, it would be a big problem.

“We have pedigrees also and they can be worth thousands of pounds.”

Searches have been ongoing for the dogs as there are fears that they may strike again.

“We have driven the roads late at night and early in the morning and there is no sign of them.

“In Garvary they could come from Lisbellaw; they could come from Enniskillen or Tempo, we have no idea”, the flock owner said.

The attack has had an impact on the sheep. “These lambs are quiet, they [usually] follow us with a bucket from one field at one end of the farm to a field at the other end of the farm, and today we can hardly get near them, they are totally spooked.

“We only lost one, and two were injured but they will be okay, but it could have been a lot worse, if the fella hadn’t been in the yard and saw it [the animals running].

“We have CCTV cameras and we can hear the dogs barking from 9.09am on the cameras, so in about 20 minutes they killed one sheep and injured two.

“If we hadn’t been there and they had been there two hours, we could have lost them all.

“We are worried that they could come back and it could be worse.”

The flock owner urged vigilance, adding: “If anyone sees sheep running in a field, look to see if they are being chased.”

The Impartial Reporter contacted Fermanagh and Omagh District Council in relation to the worrying of animals in the Garvary area.

In response, a Council spokesperson said: “The Council is aware of an animal-worrying incident which occurred in the Garvary area, and the matter is currently under investigation.

“The Council would appeal to anyone who may have information to report this to the Council’s Dog Control Service.

“Under the terms of the Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1983, it is an offence to allow a dog onto land containing livestock unless the dog is under control.

“If the dog worries the livestock – attacks or kils them – the person in charge of the dog is guilty of an offence, and could receive a fine up to £1,000, and a court may order the dog to be destroyed.

“The Council would remind dog owners of the importance of keeping their dog or dogs under control around livestock, and particularly during lambing season.”