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'Watch your pets,' warn gardaí after outbreak of dog-nappings


Prized: A whippet was among the pets targeted, in thefts across the country. Stock picture

Prized: A whippet was among the pets targeted, in thefts across the country. Stock picture

Prized: A whippet was among the pets targeted, in thefts across the country. Stock picture

Gardaí have warned animal lovers to be careful of their canines after a series of dog-nappings targeting pets across the country. 

Dogs have disappeared - and are believed to have been stolen - in incidents in Dublin, Kildare, Cork, Tipperary and Waterford.

In Cork, three incidents of suspected dog theft have occurred over the past fortnight.

One case, in Macroom, involved the theft of three dogs, a whippet and two cream coloured poodles, that were taken from a yard.

In Midleton, a prized spaniel was stolen from a home.

In Dublin, a number of valuable pure-bred dogs have also vanished in mysterious circumstances.

In some cases, locals have reported spotting vans driving slowly around the areas involved.

Gardaí have now seized a large number of dogs in two major operations in Cork and Tipperary.

In Cork, a total of 22 dogs were found during raids in Gurranabraher and Knocknaheeny.

The seizures followed searches by the Cork City Crime Unit with assistance from the District Detective Unit at three addresses.

Several of the dogs were seized for animal welfare reasons, it is understood.

All of the dogs are currently in the care of the Cork Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (CSPCA) and the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) as the Garda investigation continues.

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In Tipperary, a number of puppies were seized and placed in the care of a local animal shelter. 

The animals were found after a vehicle was stopped as part of a routine traffic operation and officers became suspicious of loud barking from the rear of the van.

The dogs were taken when gardaí were not satisfied with the explanation offered by the driver as to the ownership of the dogs and the purpose for transporting so many animals at the one time in a single vehicle.

Gardaí have now urged pet owners across the country to follow strict guidelines in relation to animal welfare and the security of their beloved pets.

Owners were told to ensure all dogs are microchipped. In addition, the owner's contact details should be logged inside the dog's collar, CCTV security cameras should be considered around homes if valuable breeds are kept there, and anyone being offered a cut-price dog, especially a valuable breed, from a suspect source should alert gardaí.

"The importance of microchipping dogs and ensuring the owner's name is engraved into the collar cannot be overstated," a spokesman said.

"If offers some chance of reuniting the dog with its owner."

Thefts of dogs have soared nationwide as the value of specific breeds have rocketed across Ireland.

Puppies of some in-demand breeds can now fetch up to €3,000 each.

Other thefts are believed to be linked to the operation of illegal puppy farms. Gardaí urged anyone who spots suspicious activity around residential areas, particularly where pets have vanished, to note the registration number of the vehicle involved and to contact their local Garda station.

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