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Wicklow animal charity reunite dog with overjoyed owners more than two years after it was stolen

Fiona Gammell of Wicklow Animal Welfare was able to return Pippa to her grateful owners


Eva and her daughter warmly embracing Pippa.

Eva and her daughter warmly embracing Pippa.

A delighted Eva Whelan reunited with Pippa.

A delighted Eva Whelan reunited with Pippa.

Fiona Gammell of Wicklow Animal Welfare.

Fiona Gammell of Wicklow Animal Welfare.


Eva and her daughter warmly embracing Pippa.


AN overjoyed family have been reunited with their dog more than two years after the pet was stolen from their garden in June 2020 thanks to Wicklow Animal Welfare.

Pippa, a Pug and Jack Russell mix, was adopted by Eva Whelan and her family having being rescued from an appalling puppy farm in Myshall, Co Carlow in 2015.

On raiding the farm in April 2015 ISPCA welfare inspectors and Gardaí raided in April of 2015, and recovered 340 dogs and 11 horses from a farm in Raheenleigh which was strewn with the carcasses of dead animals.

Pippa was rescued by Kildare and West Wicklow SPCA and was  later adopted by the Whelan family. However after the theft of Pippa during Covid the Whelan’s had all but given up hope of ever being reunited with her again as the years passed.

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However, emphasising the importance of micro chipping, the family were  overjoyed to receive a call from Fiona Gammell of Wicklow Animal Welfare saying Pippa had been dropped off at her animal sanctuary just outside Rathdrum and she received the Whelan’s details from Pippa’s microchip. . 

“We don’t know where Pippa has been for the past two years, but it turned out she was stolen during the dog stealing frenzy that took place in 2020, when people thought they could make a fortune from dogs that were suddenly in vogue during lockdown, “ said Fiona.

“Whoever stole her wouldn’t have known she was neutered. It’s easy to tell with a male dog but impossible to tell with a bitch. A female dog goes into heat twice a year, every six months, and once it was realised she was neutered she probably would have been sold on.”

Fiona was delighted to track down and inform an overjoyed Eva Whelan that Pippa was safe and well and resting at Wicklow Animal Welfare. Eva and her daughter arrived on Monday for a tearful reunion with their beloved pet.

“It was lovely to see them all reunited with one another. Eva and her daughter felt Pippa had lost some weight, but she was in great form and good health.”

Back in June Fiona was also able to reunite a Cork owner with her Cocker Spaniel which had been stolen, along with one her pups a year ago. Her pup was found in April, while Fiona was able to return the mother to her owners after scanning the dog and finding she was micro-chipped.

Fiona added: “The moral of this story is to please, please make sure your dog is microchipped and registered as is required by law since 2016.

“Also have your pet neutered, Pippa was handed up because she did not come on heat and was therefore of no financial use to her 'owner' as she would not be capable of producing puppies for sale.

“Also please make sure your dog has a collar and ID on at all times. It’s the law and being microchipped does not negate the requirement for collar and ID. Please be proactive in protecting your pet, they cannot do it for themselves and the laws are there for very good reasons.

“No one wants dogs stolen but prevention is better than cure. It has turned out well for Pippa as it did for the Cocker Spaniel stolen in Cork last year. We were able to reunite her with her owners too, but only because both dogs were micro-chipped.”

Wicklow Animal Welfare is located just outside Rathdrum and was established by Fiona Gammell back in 2006 after she had already worked as a cruelty inspector and held the position of the Vice-President of the Wicklow Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for a three-year period.