The Strangford Assembly candidate said it was ‘feared’ a stray dog or dogs had scared the sheep into the water, as she appealed to dog walkers to keep dogs under close control or on leads when exercising them in the countryside.
She said: “The National Farmers Union (NFU) advises dog walkers to keep dogs under close control or on a lead when walking in the countryside where there may be livestock.
“I urge all dog owners to ensure their animals cannot stray onto farmland where cattle or sheep may be grazing. Everyone may think their pet could not cause such catastrophic harm but even the friendliest of dogs could worry sheep or cattle, especially at this time of year when it’s lambing and calving season.”
Confirming 11 carcasses had so far been washed up on the Ards Peninsula, between Blackboat Bay and Marfield in Portaferry, Councillor Armstrong urged anyone who locates further animals to get in touch with the Coastguard.
She added: “The farmer arrived to the area on March 12, to recover the drowned animals with assistance from the Portaferry Coastguard Team. It is unclear at this time if all the sheep have been accounted for.
“Portaferry Coastguard Station Officer John Austin has asked that if any member of the public locates any further animals please contact HM Coastguard by calling 028 9146 3933.”