Cathaoirleach Cllr McGuinness and his dog Roxy
Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council, Cllr Andrew McGuinness has called on the Minister for Justice to introduce tougher sanctions for people convicted of dog theft.
“We have seen a substantial increase in the theft of dogs recently. Gardai have released warnings about an increase in the number of thefts during lockdown.
“Dogs have been fetching high prices over the past few months. A quick search online will show extraordinary prices for various dogs.
“The current law treats dogs and other pets like property, and their theft is treated no differently to the theft of a mobile phone or a flowerpot.
“ In my view, this is not good enough at all. The punishment needs to be much stricter and it should reflect the devastating impact on a family or an individual who has had their pet stolen.
“Theft of a dog or a family pet is a sickening crime and in a different league to property theft. It should be treated and punishable properly and legislation must be changed as a matter of urgency,” he said.
Cllr McGuinness said that he has written to the Minister for Justice Helen McEntee to highlight the issue and the need for tougher sanctions to be put in place for perpetrators of this kind of criminal activity.
“I am writing to the Minister to suggest that tougher measures are needed and hopefully action will be taken.
“In the meantime, please be vigilant - ensure your dog is safe and if they are in your garden that your garden is secure.
“When I look at the bond my own children have with our dog Roxy, I can see how heartbroken they would be if she was stolen. My son Jack is seven and our dog Roxy is eight so she has always been part of his world.
“The same can be said in so many families. People sometimes forget that a dog is a member of the family and loved by that family. A dog theft is so much more than property theft, its the loss of a loved member of the family and should be treated as such in the eye of the law.”