We try to make this blog a light and breezy place. Somewhere people can learn fun aspects of responsible dog ownership, while also keeping up with the education team as we undertake our mission to make Ireland a safer place for dog/human interaction.
Today’s blog is a little more serious. We’re going to touch on an unfortunate spike in suspected dog theft which has been occurring all over Ireland the past few weeks.
We can speculate the reasons for this. Dogs Trust has certainly seen a rise in interest in people looking to adopt, which is great news (although getting a dog is a huge commitment and we stress that these decisions should not be made on a whim). The recent lockdown has meant more people are working from home, and many will continue to do this going forward-at least on a more regular basis. With families spending more time at home, many will feel that their new lifestyles are more compatible with dog ownership, and so we have more demand for dogs.
While this is good news for dog rescues such as ourselves, it also means that less savoury sources for dogs-such as puppy farms (and we implore none of our readers to ever buy from a puppy farm) will also face an increase in demand.
Where there is demand, there are often insalubrious people that will source a supply somewhere, and this is why (we suspect) many dogs are being stolen.
So; a few tips on making sure your own dog stays safe-We also want to point out that walks are important to dogs, and are a fantastic way to spend time with your furry friend. Please don't be afraid to bring your dog out, these tips are just for you to be aware and stay extra safe.
An adult should always accompany a child when walking a dog.
When we tell this to people, they are often surprised, and claim that this might seem extreme, but there are many good reasons why this should be a rule for all families. If a child is walking a dog, the dog is vulnerable to dognapping.
Many dognappers may approach a dog walker in advance. Dogs are often conversation starters, and most dog owners will be used to dog lovers approaching/asking after the dog. But a dog napper may ask suspicious questions-is your dog neutered (more on this later), are they good with kids etc. While an adult may be savvy to these types of questions, a child may not.
Also, while all dogs should be kept under control while outside, we all know that this is not the case. If a loose dog charges over to your dog out on a walk, your child may panic-particularly if either dog is reactive. Its not a nice scenario, and it isn’t safe. To be alone with a dog, you should be 16 years of age or older.
A dog must not be out by itself
This should really go without saying, but to follow on from the above point, a dog should never be unsupervised while out of the house. These dogs are incredibly vulnerable to dog thieves, and they may not even get reported straight away as their absence is less noticeable.
And aside from dog nappers, if a dog is out wandering, there is no owner to scoop the poop. This is illegal, so no wandering dogs please.
A dog should be Microchipped and have a name tag
It is now law that all dogs should be microchipped. Unfortunately, this will not stop them from getting stolen, however once chipped, you have proof that your dog belongs to you. Although there are rare exceptions to dognappers finding ways around microchips, a chip is still the simplest way to ensure your dog stays connected to you.
As for name tags, these are also required by law, but it is your name and contact details that are required, not your dogs. If a thief knows your dog’s name, they may be able to lure your dog. Don’t make their job easy for them.
Ensure your garden is secure
Before a dog is adopted out from Dogs Trust, we do an inspection to make sure the garden is secure. Although the primary reason for this is so your dog won’t escape, we also want to make sure nobody can get in and steal your dog. If your garden isn’t completely secure, do not leave your dog there unsupervised.
Neuter your dogs
We recommend all dogs get neutered, and in fact all rescue dogs in Ireland will undergo this procedure. Apart from being healthier, and ensuring we don’t get a surplus of unwanted dogs, it is also a deterrent for dognappers. While an older dog still could be sold on, what these people really want is a puppy factory. If your dog can no longer produce puppies, than they are less desirable to these nasty people. It might not even be a bad idea to have “I’m neutered” engraved on your dog’s ID badge so this is evident from the get go.
Cars and Shops
We’ve all seen dogs tied outside shops, or left inside cars. Dogs Trust does not condone either of these actions. Cars are hot and stuffy, and even on a tepid day, a dog can easily get overheated. And as for outside a shop, this can be stressful for your dog-Sidenote; if you see a dog tied outside a shop you should never approach them, and all children should be aware of this.
But aside from these reasons, dogs in cars or outside shops are extremely vulnerable and can be easily taken.
So there you have it lads. We apologise for such a stoic blog post, but we felt this was necessary in the wake of the spike in recent suspected dog thefts.
As regards children and education however, the main message we really wish to hone in on, is that...
...no child should be walking their dog without adult supervision.
Stay safe friends.