News 2021

Title:  People urged not to take dogs onto the mountains this Christmas
Date:  21/12/2021

People urged not to take dogs onto the mountains this Christmas

Mountaineering Ireland, the national representative body for hillwalkers and climbers, has issued an appeal to dog owners not to take dogs onto the hills over the Christmas and New Year period.

Speaking on behalf of Mountaineering Ireland, Access & Conservation Officer Helen Lawless said “Many of us are really looking forward to getting up the mountains over the holidays, it’s one of the best ways to relax or to meet with friends in these times, but please do not take dogs into upland areas. The failure of a minority of dog owners to keep their dogs under control means that dogs are not welcome in most upland areas.”

More than 30 sheep were killed, others injured and some remain missing, following a series of attacks last week by a stray dog in the vicinity of Knockmeal and Crohan West in the Knockmealdowns, close to Newcastle in Co. Tipperary.

The landowners affected by the attack include Bridget King from King’s Yard and her husband, Stephen Ryan, who have an out-farm at Crohan. Bridget and Stephen are well known to walkers from across Munster, and further afield, for the welcome they provide to walkers at their farm which is south of Galtymore, the highest peak in the Galtee Mountains.

When asked if dogs on leads were acceptable, Bridget said “We have seen too many people go up with the dog on a lead, and then leave them off up the hill. This is happening more since Covid. The message is simple, do not bring dogs up the mountain, there are many tracks in the forest and looped walks away from livestock where people can take their dogs.

This is an animal welfare issue; many people do not realise the suffering their dog can cause to sheep and also to wildlife. It happens so quickly and easily, sheep will run from a dog and the dog gives chase. That’s enough to cause harm to the sheep – sheep may die from the stress, or from injuries caused, some also get caught in briars or wire”.

Mountaineering Ireland is appealing to anyone who was in the Crohan West to Knockmeal area of the Knockmealdowns over the last week, to contact the Gardaí in Cahir with any relevant information they may have, however insignificant it might seem. To do so, call Cahir Garda Station on 052 7445630.

In addition. Mountaineering Ireland is asking its members to share this message with friends and family and on social media, it’s important that we get this out as widely as possible at this time.

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