Farmers form vigilante groups in Carrickfergus

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Farmers across East Antrim were forming vigilante groups and adopting a ‘kill on sight’ policy in October 1980.

This came after flocks of sheep were being attacked by packs of marauding dogs over a two week period.

As the number of attacks increased, farmers banded together to form vigilante groups to protect their sheep. The farmers had killed two dogs at the time of writing.

In all, 26 sheep were killed. 65 had been mauled and six had to be put down. This amounted to a loss of thousands of pounds.

A farmer from Woodburn, Bertie McCullough, had 16 of his sheep mauled by the dogs.

“If I was certain that the dog had been worrying my sheep I would not hesitate to shoot it. Already we have shot one of the dogs involved. Some sheep have had their eyes eaten and their ears pulled off.”

Police said that they would be increasing patrols in the Woodburn and Milebush area.

Some farmers were planing to put poison down in their fields to kill the dogs, while others were waiting up all night to try and protect their flocks if the dogs came onto their property. Farmers were left counting the cost, with some losing hundreds of pounds worth of sheep.