Dog Theft Safety Advice
Here at Dogs Trust Ireland we have been alarmed and saddened to hear of the recent increase in suspected dog thefts around the country. We have also seen an increase in the number of dogs missing or suspected as stolen on our Lost and Found Dogs Facebook Group so, we would urge dog owners to be extra careful with their dogs and take the following precautionary steps.
Keep your dog safe
- First and foremost, your dog should always wear a collar and ID tag with YOUR name and address on it, as this is a legal requirement. Dogs Trust does not recommend putting your dogs' name on the tag as if thieves know your dogs' name, it can be easier for them to lure your dog into a false sense of security.
- Additional information such as your phone number should also be placed on your dog’s tag so that you can be contacted easily if your dog is found by a member of the public. If your dog has been neutered, it can be helpful to put “I’m Neutered” on the tag as this can act as a deterrent to thieves who may want to use your dog for breeding. Finally, if your dog is on any long-term medication, writing “I need medication” on their collar is also very important.
- Microchipping your dog and registering your most up-to-date contact details with a Government approved database is another legal requirement under the Microchipping of Dogs Regulations 2015 and is also the best way of identifying your dog should they go missing. For more information on microchipping and why it is so important, please visit our Microchipping FAQ.
- Always remember that if you move to a new house or get a new phone number, you must update your contact details immediately with your microchip database provider.
- Finally, it can be useful to take up-close photos of your dog (provided your dog is comfortable with this), from all angles, to record any identifiable markings your dog might have.
- Please ensure that your home and property boundaries are safe and secure. This will keep your dog in and help keep thieves out.
- Make sure your garden gate closes properly and has a sturdy lock on it to prevent trespassers from gaining easy access to your property.
- A CCTV recording system can also be installed as an added security measure.
- Make sure your dog is always in sight while out in your garden and never leave them unsupervised.
- Join your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme and make your community more secure by looking out for your neighbours.
- Be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to your local Garda Station.
While out and about
- If you have your dog out and are exercising them off-lead, make sure that they have practised their recall skills and that they will return to you as soon as you call them. Always keep them in sight and pay attention to what they are doing at all times.
- Never leave your dog unattended in a public place, such as outside a shop, even if it is just for a moment.
- Beware of strangers showing a keen interest in your dog. Watch out for questions like “What breed is your dog?”, “How old is your dog?”, “Is your dog neutered/microchipped?”, “How much did you pay for your dog” etc. Also, be careful of what you share about your dog on social media such as where they stay when you are out of the house, or where they sleep at night.
- Neutering may reduce the likelihood of your dog trying to escape your property in search of a mate. Male dogs will do almost anything to get out if they smell a nearby female dog that is in season. Similarly, some female dogs will actively search out a mate while in season.
- Neutering can also act as a deterrent to thieves who wish to steal dogs and breed from them. As mentioned previously, this is why we recommend adding “I’m Neutered” to the tag on your dogs’ collar to make them less desirable to thieves.
What to do if your dog goes missing
- Immediately report it to your local Garda station. If you believe your dog has been stolen, ensure that it is recorded as such.
- Report it to your Local Authority Dog Warden and your microchip database provider.
- Contact local animal rescues and vets to advise them of the incident so they can take your details should anyone contact them if they find your dog.
- Create a ‘Missing Poster’ for your dog which includes a clear photo and description of them including any distinctive markings they may have. Describe the incident in detail such as where they were last seen and when they went missing. Share this on social media and ‘Lost Dog’ groups and websites such as Dogs Trust Lost and Found Dogs Facebook Group. Make sure your privacy settings are set to ‘Public’ so that your poster can reach more people and you can easily be contacted. It can also be helpful to put up these posters in your area.
- Monitor websites and places where thieves might try to sell your dog and notify the Gardaí immediately if you see anything suspicious.
- Once your dog is found, please alert anyone you may have contacted requesting help such as the Gardaí, your Local Authority Dog Warden and local animal groups and vets, so they know to stop the search.