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Pet owners beware - 32 stolen dogs worth over €120k seized in Swords

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A dachshund and pups were among the pets found in Swords

A dachshund and pups were among the pets found in Swords

A dachshund and pups were among the pets found in Swords

Gardaí have seized 32 dogs, which they believed to have been stolen, valued at more than €120,000.

Three Chihuahuas, four pugs, 24 dachshunds and a Jack Russell were discovered during the garda operation.

Gardaí conducted searches at Stockhole, Cloghran, Swords, on Saturday afternoon.

They had received a call in relation to unusual activity in the area and as a result of further inquiries, they sought a search warrant which was executed by a number of gardaí attached to Swords and Malahide stations.

Two dog wardens also took part in the search.

All the dogs were removed to the Ashton Pound where they were being cared for yesterday.

Gardaí said in a statement: "The owners of the dogs are due to be verified via their microchips when further inquiries will be carried out."

They said dog wardens had confirmed that the estimated value of the dogs would be in excess of €120,000.

Animal charities had already reported a surge in demand for dogs during the Covid-19 crisis.

They say their value has increased sharply. A Jack Russell cost €80 before lockdown. Now people are being asked for €700 or €800 for them.

Ransom

Earlier this month, gardaí appealed to the public to take extra care when it came to looking after their pets, particularly if they were high-value breeds.

They said a number of dog thefts had been reported. Some of the reasons dogs might be stolen include resale, ransom, breeding or fighting.

Meanwhile, Gillian Bird of the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has called for a focus on prevention of animal thefts.

Speaking to The Herald yesterday, she said: "Do not let your dog wander off. If you are bringing your dog to somewhere you don't know, don't let them off the lead. Keep them on the lead."

She also said people were advised against posting pictures of their children outside their front doors on social media because they don't necessarily want people to know where they live, "so why would you do it with your dog?"

She said people also needed to ensure their pets were microchipped, and that the chips could be read.

"Check on a regular basis when you are at the vets that the microchip is still working, and also make sure they are registered to you.

"A microchip is only as good as the details that are stored on the database," she said.

"We are still seeing the majority of dogs that are reported lost or found are not microchipped. We still have a lack of traceability of owners.

Surge

"If you are worried, don't leave your dog in your back garden unattended, and if you have to, put a padlock on your gate."

There has been a surge in the number of people acquiring dogs in lockdown, she said.

"It's because people seem to think, 'we are at home more, therefore we can get a dog because we have the time now, we didn't have the time before'."

But, she said, people have to factor in how they will feel when things return to normal.