A horse and suckler farmer has appealed to dog owners to keep their animals under control and to forbid them to roam freely in areas where livestock are present.
A young foal from the holding of Laura Hatton, Raheenduff, Oulart, Gorey, Co. Wexford was killed in a suspected dog attack, earlier this week.
Speaking exclusively to That’s Farming, Laura recalled the series of events that occurred:
“On Tuesday, May 22nd, we brought a mare into the yard for scanning and we let her out into a field that afternoon with our other mare and foal, which was grazing there for about one-week.”
“They ran around and eventually settled down and our neighbours kept an eye on them like always. We checked the stock that evening and everything seemed to be fine.” Laura explained.
In the late hours of Tuesday night, at approximately 11.30pm the neighbours in question, heard the two mares and foals galloping around the field - they did not take heed as the horses in question were engaging in similar behaviour earlier that afternoon/evening.
“The neighbours heard a commotion between 5.30-6.15am. at 9.30am, they rang a neighbour and they rang me to tell me that they thought that a foal had died.” Laura explained.
Laura immediately went to the field where the two horses and foals were grazing and discovered a dead one-month-old foal. Upon examination, Laura noted that there was a puncture in the foal’s oesophagus pipe and a mark above this area, along with the appearance of numerous marks on the foal’s head.
[Photos supplied by Laura Hatton]
“I walked the well-fenced field as I thought that the foal may have run into a branch, but there was nothing to be found. When walking the field, I found three patches of blood located about 50-yards away from where the foal was found.”
“I went to the local Gardaí station and presented the photos to them - they also think that a dog attacked the foal,” Laura revealed.
The foal was estimated to be worth in the region €750, however; due to stress and trauma of the event, Laura believes that the dam’s possible pregnancy is also questionable as she is yet to be scanned.
“We could be losing two foals instead of one. The emotional toll is more significant than the financial loss.”
“A lot of dog owners think that if they keep the animal indoors all day that they won’t go anywhere at night because they are present in the house, but these attacks happen most commonly at night-time,” Laura added.
“The particular incident involved a foal, but there is also a possibility that young calves and/or lambs could be attacked also. Owners need to keep their dogs under control.” Laura concluded.