ALERT: Appeal to Wicklow pedigree pet owners following spate of dog thefts
Gardai have issued a public appeal to Wicklow pet owners, particularly those with high-value dog breeds, to take extra care of their animals following a spate of thefts since the lockdown began.
Gardai said dogs are usually stolen for resale, ransom or for breeding purposes in puppy farms, where is often little or no regard for the health or welfare of the animals. Some dogs can also be used as bait for dogfighting, a cruel, sickening and illegal activity.
To protect your pets, the National Crime Prevention Unit has the following advice:
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 dogs 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.
Pet owners are advised to immediately contact their local Garda station if your dog is missing or stolen and to also report it to your vet, local authority and to your dog’s microchip company.
They are also advised to “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.
Pet owners are also advised to create posters and flyers and to distribute these around your local community and to report the theft on as many missing animal websites as possible.
PHOTO: Stock image