Concern has been growing in recent days at the number of dog thefts in counties Roscommon, Sligo and Mayo.
There have been reports of thefts in Boyle, Frenchpark, Tubbercurry, Gurteen, Knock, Ballymote add Dromahair along with other areas in the three counties.
Posts on social media have shown photographs of Northern Ireland/English registered cars and vans and their occupants who are alleged to be suspected of involvement in the thefts.
There has also been reports of suspicious individuals undertaking surveillance on properties. It is alleged that when they observe a dog on the premises, a mark is placed on the wall with an individual(s) returning at a later stage, to allegedly steal the animal.
Gardai are appealing to the public to take extra crime prevention measures when it comes to caring for your pet, particularly high-value breeds of dogs.
According to An Garda Siochana, a number of dog thefts have been reported in recent months. Some of the main reasons dogs can be stolen are for:
1. Resale: Some buyers won’t check a pet’s background before buying a dog, which makes things a lot easier for thieves trying to make a profit.
2. Ransom: A thief can take advantage of a vulnerable owner that will offer a reward for the safe return of their beloved dog.
3. Breeding: Stolen dogs can be used in puppy farms, where is little or no regard for the health or welfare of the animals involved.
4. Fighting: Some dogs will be used as bait for dogfighting, a cruel, sickening and illegal activity.
The following pet safety advice is issued by the National Crime Prevention Unit
Pets should be microchipped so they can be easily identified if found. Dogs should be microchipped once they are 12 weeks old as per Statutory Instruments S.I. 63 of 2015.
Be wary of strangers
You might be more than happy to talk about your dog to anyone who asks but be aware and stay vigilant of strangers on your dog walks.
Be wary of anyone that starts asking for personal information, if you notice a stranger watching you or your dog, or if you see someone acting suspiciously.
Vary your walking patterns
Make sure to vary the times and places you walk your dog to avoid creating a pattern for thieves to track and plan around.
Don’t leave them tied up
Don’t be tempted to leave your dog tied outside of a shop or other public spaces, this creates an ideal opportunity for thieves. If you have errands to run, leave your dog at home so that they’re not left outside or take someone with you so that they can be with your pooch.
Take care with sitters and kennels
If you’re looking for someone to care for your dog while you’re out or away then make sure that you do the proper research, always check references and make sure they’re a reputable company.
Keep your dog safe at home
Thieves can take advantage of an unsupervised dog left out in the garden, so be sure to keep an eye on them at all times. Additional crime prevention measures should be considered in the home (such as CCTV) where a high-value breed of animal is housed.
Check your privacy settings
Received a strange friend request or not sure who can see your doggy photos on your social media pages? It might be a good idea to check your privacy settings to make sure you and your pet are safe online.
Don’t leave your dog in the car
We never recommend leaving your dog in the car, the rising temperatures are one risk, but they could make a tempting target to a thief. So, always take your dog with you and if that’s not possible then leave them at home.
If a dog is stolen, it’s important to act quickly:
– Immediately report the theft to Gardaí.
– Report the loss to your local authority, your vet and your dog’s microchip company.
– Spread the word on social media – post clear photos and detailed descriptions both on your profile and any other groups and pages you are connected with and encourage people to share quickly.
– Create posters and flyers, distribute these around your local community. Check your insurance policy, it might be able to cover some of these costs.
– Report the theft on as many missing animal websites as you can and keep an eye out on social media and selling pages.
In the instance where a lost animal is found, ensure the rightful owner is being contact before returning them.