Farmers with sheep are approaching the busy time of the season with lambing but also keeping watch against dog attacks.

This week, the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has urged dog owners to ensure their pets are supervised at all times when walking through the countryside, as lambing season is underway.

UFU deputy president William Irvine said, “With the weather improving and a longer stretch in the evenings, more dog owners will be wanting to enjoy the countryside for recreational activity. During early spring, Northern Ireland’s countryside plays home to many pregnant ewes and newborn lambs. Dogs should not be allowed to disturb these animals.

"I would remind all dog owners whether walking along rural roads or through the countryside next to fields and farms, that dogs must be kept under control as there is the potential for livestock worrying.

"We repeatedly issue this advice, however, it continues to be dismissed by many. Farmers cannot continue to tolerate this.

"The welfare of livestock is a priority for farmers and any attack on sheep is also an attack on the farmer’s livelihood.

“The safest and most appropriate thing for all dog walkers to do is to always keep their dog(s) on a lead when out exploring - I cannot emphasis this enough. Farmers should report livestock worrying incidents to their local dog warden for investigation.”