€1,000 reward to catch thugs who tortured pet dogs
Pet owners and animal welfare campaigners have offered rewards of nearly €1,000 for information leading to the prosecution of those involved in a spate of horrific animal cruelty incidents.
The attacks included a dog having its paws cut off, another animal being partially skinned alive and a third dog having its throat cut.
In Waterford, a dog had corrosive liquid deliberately sprayed in its eyes.
Gardai are investigating almost a dozen separate cruelty complaints, including claims that a gang operating in Cork city are using dogs to hunt and kill pet cats.
In a separate and unrelated investigation, a number of unlicensed puppy farms in the south Munster area are also being investigated.
One farm was found to have almost 40 dogs.
Gardai are preparing a number of files for the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Most distressing was the case of a dog in west Cork that thugs attacked and cut off its paws while it was still alive.
The attack came after the gruesome torture of Marvin, a pet Jack Russell, in the Mayfield area of Cork city last month.
Owner Sylvia McCarthy broke down as she said she remains baffled as to how anyone could inflict such terrible suffering on a pet.
Five-year-old Marvin was still alive when found but, despite desperate efforts by a local vet and animal welfare officials to save him, he died a short time later.
It is suspected the pet was cornered and snatched by the gang and taken to a remote location where he was tortured.
The badly injured dog died hours after being found.
"I'm absolutely sickened by what happened," said Ms McCarthy.
"How can anyone inflict this type of pain and suffering on another creature?"
"When the guards brought Marvin to the vets his head was half cut off."
Cork's Lord Mayor, Chris O'Leary, described the attacks as "barbaric" and vowed to back the appeal.
"They tortured him - that is what they did, pure and simple," said Ms McCarthy.
"We have spent weeks crying our hearts out over what was done to Marvin.
"It is sickening. None of us can believe it. He didn't deserve this."
Gardai have previously investigated reports that two gangs are using dogs, including a greyhound, to hunt down and kill pet cats and terriers around Cork.
Some areas of the city have been left virtually cat-free because of the gang's actions.
Other parts of the country including Dublin, Galway and Limerick have also reported high-profile animal cruelty cases in recent months.