A farmer from Carrignavar has had an emotional reunion with his faithful canine companion after Gardaí in Limerick seized the Springer Spaniel and another suspected stolen dog.
While following up on reports of suspicious activity in a Limerick City car-park Gardaí approached two men who had two spaniels in their possession.
The suspicions of the Gardaí were aroused when the men could not provide satisfactory information relating to the ownership of the dogs, which they had claimed were micro-chipped.
Upon noticing the nervous demeanour of the dogs, both of which were cowering in a cage, officers took the decision to seize them pending verification of ownership. They were taken to Henry St garda station where their condition was assessed by a vet.
While both male dogs were in good condition, a scan for microchips returned negative.
One of the men later brought what Gardaí believed was false documentation to the station. The dogs were subsequently taken to a local animal shelter while Gardaí carried out further enquiries.
One of the dogs 'Jake', which was believed to have been stolen from its County Cork home in late June was subsequently reunited with its relieved owner Gerard McMahon, who had placed ads online and put up posters in an attempt to trace the whereabouts of the dog.
After seeing a description of the dog and gauging his reaction after he was reunited with Gerard, Gardaí were satisfied he was indeed Jake's owner.
A delighted Gerard admitted he had "lost hope" of seeing Jake again as he had been missing for so long.
"I tried everything to get him back - I tried social media and put up posters locally. I am extremely grateful to Garda Shane Hayes and Limerick Animal Welfare for looking after Jake and getting him home safely," said Gerard.
Gardaí were still attempting to reunite the second dog with its owner and appealed to anyone who can help get him home to contact Henry Street Garda Station on 061-212400.
An Garda Síochána said that while they were aware of a number of dog thefts around the country recently, the number of incidents reported to them did not reflect a "significant increase' in dog thefts.
However, crime prevention officer Ber Leetch said it was inevitable that numerous reports of dog thefts circulating can make dog owners feel unsafe and worried about their pets.
"For your dog's security, I would recommend they are micro-chipped so that they can be easily identified if found and returned to the owner. Also place contact details on their collar in the event that they escape. Ensure that your home and garden are secure to prevent theft and deter potential culprits," he said.
"If you have a high value breed of animal you may consider CCTV and other crime prevention measures. If you are buying a dog, or returning a dog to its suspected owners, make sure the person is bona fide" she added.