Galway County Council has issued a fresh warning for pet owners to take precautions after an increase in suspected dog thefts around the county and country.
There has been a recent increase in the number of houses being marked for potential theft of dogs reported recently.
Cathaoirleach of Galway County Council James Charity recently reported that thieves are marking houses using chalk or a cable tie for possible dog thefts.
The County Council is urging dog owners to take precautions to ensure that their dog is traceable to them if is stolen or goes missing.
“Galway County Council are aware of the high numbers of dogs being stolen across the country at the moment and it is very distressing for both dog and owner.”
The increase in dog thefts has been linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, with more people seeking a pet while in lockdown.
“The demand for, and therefore the monetary value of dogs has increased sharply in the recent pandemic, with people seeing the many benefits of dog ownership, especially as they spend more time at home,” the county council said.
“Prevention of this criminal act is best achieved by responsible dog ownership, and having your dog safe under your control at all times, as is a legal requirement.”
Dog owners should have their pets licenced and microchipped, with the microchip number registered with your current contact details.
“Lost or stray dogs coming into the care of Galway County Council are always scanned for microchips, and if microchip details are correct and current, dogs can be reunited quickly and safely.”
If your pet does get stolen, you should report it immediately to the Gardaí, the local dog warden, your vet, and the company your dog is microchipped with.
One notable incident in Galway came when a litter of foxhound puppies were stolen in Craughwell in June, and recovered in Belfast along with multiple other dogs.