Animal lovers from across Dublin and surrounding counties have been called on to support a peaceful protest in the capital on Saturday March 25 in support of stronger laws and detection of dog theft, writes Rose Barrett.
Lisa O’Connor from Bray is calling onfounded a Facebook group Missing Stolen Animals Ireland which she launched in 2020 “at the height of dog theft during Covid”. The group now has over 11,000 followers.
In less than three years, over 500 dogs have been reported stolen, claims Lisa and only a small number found.
“I’ve been running this group in my free time and it is horrendous to realise how big the problem is. Last year, we had a missing dog located and returned from the UK, after a pound/shelter identified a dog through its microchip.”
Lisa has, in recent months, been corresponding with the Minister of State with Responsibility for Law Reform, James Browne (as delegated by Minister for Justice, Simon Harris).
But she now feels utterly despondent about the lack of action or urgency regarding dog theft.
“Hence, I decided to organise a peaceful protest in Dublin on March 25 to highlight these issues.”
“I was assured by a spokesperson for the government and An Garda Síochána that they ‘were dedicated to preventing the theft of companion animals through a range of measures, including microchipping and awareness campaigns’. Yet Lisa claims only a small number of garda stations actually has a microchip scanner!
“I was told the Garda National Crime Prevention Unit’s advice on pet safety can be viewed on the garda website,” said Lisa. “But when I google “Garda Awareness Campaign for pet theft” it doesn’t bring up any hits. Then I tried it on Facebook and it brought up a post from 2020. After further searching I found the publication in the news archive section on the garda.ie website last updated August 2020!”
Peadar Toibín, leader of Aontú, said: “In 2020, 196 instances of animal theft were reported to the gardaí. But this correlated to only 40 associated charges/summons. That means for every five incidents of animal theft, only one shall correlate to an associated charge/summons.”
Hence, Lisa feels it’s time for the government to step up the law with regards animal theft and operators of illegal puppy farming. She calls on like minded persons to join the protest at 1pm on Saturday 25 March next, meeting at the Wolfe Tone statue on the Northeast side of St Stephen’s Green. Several other organisations in animal welfare have agreed to attend, all support appreciated.
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