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Micro-chip plea as gangs steal dogs to order

ANIMAL welfare groups have demanded that micro-chipping be made mandatory for Irish pets, as gangs steal valuable puppies to order.

The call came from animal welfare groups and vets after a spate of puppy robberies across Ireland.

The latest was the high profile theft of puppies from a popular Kerry pet farm.

Gardai raided a premises in Crossbarry, Cork two days after the Killarney pet farm robbery and recovered a number of animals.

These included four shih tzu pups, three Pugs, a Yorkshire/chihuahua cross and a golden retriever.

Gardai made no arrests during the raid but the operation prompted animal welfare campaigners to demand mandatory micro-chipping.

It is believed the dogs were destined for the Dublin and Northern Ireland pet markets.

Collars

September is National Micro-chipping month and Dogs Trust Ireland pointed out that while dog licenses and collars are mandatory, micro-chips are not despite the fact they are instrumental in helping trace lost and stolen animals.

DTI warned that fewer than half the dogs which go missing in Ireland each year are reunited with their owners. It is estimated that 90pc of the dogs that are successfully reunited with their owners were micro-chipped.

Dog behaviour expert, Nanci Creedon, said it is "absolutely mind-boggling" that micro-chipping is not mandatory.

"Pets are like members of the family and having them stolen can be terribly traumatic for everyone involved," she said.

"I believe micro-chips have been a key factor in helping slash the number of dogs being euthanised in dog pounds around Ireland because their owners can be successfully traced.

"There were 5,586 dogs euthanised in Irish pounds in 2011 but that figure has been brought down to 3,516 in 2013 thanks to micro-chipping."

Nanci added that micro-chipping not only helps reduce thefts and dogs being euthanised but also helps in tracing the animals involved in dog attacks and the owners responsible.

Gardai admitted that gangs of professional dog thieves are now terrorising families, breeders and dog clubs nationwide in a money-spinning steal-to-order racket.

There has been an alarming spiral in dog thefts in Dublin, Cork and Galway with gardai now fearing that several gangs nationwide are co-operating over the theft, transfer and sale of stolen animals.

Export

It is feared that high-value breeds such as huskies, rottweilers, bichon-frise, Pugs, King Charles cavalier and English bulldogs are even being stolen here for export to the UK market.

Prized breeds can fetch anywhere from €400 to €1,000.

The spate of thefts has reached such proportions that some breeders are even arranging for their premises to be monitored while they are at work or dogs to be 'baby-sat' while they are at family functions.

Dublin owners have even been advised to exercise caution when allowing their dogs out to exercise - with valuable dogs going missing in some city parks in suspicious circumstances while out of sight of their owners.

hnews@herald.ie


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