Farmers form vigilante groups to defend their sheep in Newtownabbey

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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 Monkstown, Stephen Hall, said: “Three of my sheep have been killed and three have had to be put down as a result of the most recent attack.

“Due to the help of my neighbour I arrived on the scene in time to shoot one of the dogs responsible.

“If the dogs return. I will be ready for them. I will shoot again if needs be,” he said.

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.