A Sligo Councillor who previously defended fox hunting by horses and hounds is now calling for the practice of dog-baiting to be made illegal.
Dog baiting involves foxes, hares and rabbits being flushed out of dens by Terrier dogs, with lurcher dogs then chasing and killing the animals.
At last month’s meeting of Sligo County Council, West Sligo Independent Councillor Michael Clarke defended fox hunting by horses and hounds, saying that in 40 years, no fox had not been killed in west Sligo during a hunt.
At that meeting, councillors voted 8 to 2 against a ban on fox hunting, which had been proposed by Solidarity People Before Profit Councillor Gino O Boyle, who described it as a barbaric practice.
At yesterday’s council meeting, Cllr Clarke proposed that the council call on the government to bring in legislation to make dog-baiting illegal.
Cllr Clarke described the activity as ‘barbaric and cruel’, as well as causing great distress to farm animals, causing sheep to abort lambs and cows to abort calves.
Fianna Fail Councillor Donal Gilroy also complained about uncontrolled dogs on farmland and the use of lurcher-type dogs in the practice known as ‘lamping.’
He said the dogs were brought out at night to rural areas and areas of commonage throughout north Sligo by people from outside the area to hunt and kill rabbits.
He said the problem is not the dogs but the people who do not keep them under control.
Cllr Clarke said it is a nightly event in west Sligo, with people and dogs travelling to the area from towns.
He insisted that it needs to be stopped, especially with the peak lambing season approaching.
He claimed the Gardai cannot deal with it because there is no law for them to enforce.
Cllr Gilroy said this happens late at night but the dog warden cannot be working 24-hours a day.
Cllr Clarke said it’s a serious issue at this time of the year, when ewes and cows are giving birth.