Pedigree dog-nappers leave a trail of devastation
By Allison Bray
Monday March 09 2009
ANIMAL welfare experts have warned dog owners to be vigilant following a spate of incidents where pedigree dogs have been stolen from their homes.
There were several dog-nappings during the run-up to Christmas and while there is not the same flurry of thefts being reported, it is still occurring, said DSPCA spokeswoman Orla Aungier.
Robert Kenny, owner of the Dublin-based Happy Tails Pet Detective agency which traces missing pets, said the theft of dogs by criminals is a highly lucrative business.
Pedigree dogs cost between €500-€900 and can be easily stolen to order or sold over the internet, netting the thieves huge profits, he said.
There have even been cases of people taking dogs and holding them to ransom, he said. "It's a massive industry at the moment," he added.
An average of about 350 dogs are stolen across Ireland each week while between 30 and 35 dogs are stolen in Dublin and Co Dublin alone each week, he said.
Thefts from rural areas are commonplace in which thieves will go around in vans rounding up dogs that are running loose or on farms
Thieves will also target dogs that are left in their gardens while their owners are at work. There have even been cases in which thieves will break into someone's home and steal nothing but their pedigree pet, Mr Kenny said.
"It's a nasty, nasty scenario. I really empathise with people who have an animal stolen. The worst thing is not knowing what happened to them," he said.
Conleth Teevan (37), a publicist from Dublin, said he is absolutely devastated after Kodi, his three-month-old Alaskan Malamute, vanished from his home on Lullymore Terrace in Dublin's Liberties area last week.
The puppy is too small to climb over the garden wall and he is convinced that someone deliberately took the rare pup, which cost him €700, in order to sell on to an unscrupulous buyer.
He has been microchipped and would be easily traced if he was brought into a vet or pound, he said.
"It's like having a child go missing," he told the Irish Independent.
"Even if he ran off, he's still too young to get back on his own," he said.
Mr Teevan said he has put up about 500 posters in the area hoping that someone will trace the dog. Aside from desperately wanting him back, he is also worried that Kodi will become ill because he was taken before his course of vaccinations were complete.
"I have about 50 people helping me find him. I've had a lot of calls but it's been mostly people wishing me luck to find him but I'll try anything to get him back," he said.
- Allison Bray