The Dáil will on Wednesday face a motion to introduce harsher penalties for theft of companion pets as the rates of dog thefts in Ireland continue to rise.
Last year, approximately 244 dogs were reported stolen – an increase of 16% from the 2019 total of 2019. These figures come from the Garda PULSE System.
A group of Regional TDs now want the Dáil to take action to stop the theft of pets. One of those TDs, Denis Naughten noted that the theft of a pet is very different from that of personal property and should be treated as such.
“We all know that pets are much more than property, they are very much part of a family in homes across our country; sometimes the only friend to someone who is isolated, the guide for someone who is blind or has other sensory issues, and this needs to be clearly reflected in much stronger legislation,” Naughten said.
Naughten also encouraged the general public to get behind the plan and said anyone buying a new pet should make sure that they are microchipped – “All dogs over 12 weeks are meant to be microchipped.”
Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, is quoted by RTÉ both acknowledging the trauma that can be caused by the theft of a pet and suggesting that the Minister responsible for Law Reform, James Browne, has a “strong interest in the issue”.
The Dáil is set to debate the motion on Wednesday, with pet owners across the country hoping for a positive outcome.