A photo of Garda Shane Hayes, Gerard and his dog Jake
Shortly after 7.30pm on July 13, Gardaí from Castleconnell Garda Station were following up on reports of suspicious activity in the car park on Old Dublin Road, Limerick.
Gardaí spoke to two men who had two male springer spaniel dogs in their possession. When Gardaí enquired about their ownership of the dogs, the two men were unable to provide information that Gardaí were satisfied with. They also informed Gardaí that the dogs were microchipped.
Both dogs were very nervous, cowering in their cage, so a decision was made by Gardaí to seize them for their welfare pending the verification of ownership. Both dogs were seized and brought to Henry Street where they were housed in the kennels at the rear of station.
A local vet came and scanned both dogs for microchips which returned negative for both. The vet believes that the two springer spaniels were males roughly 3-4yrs and 18mths or so and were in good condition.
One of the men later attended Henry Street and produced documentation which Gardaí believe are fraudulent. The two dogs were then brought to a local animal shelter whilst Gardaì carried out further enquiries.
One of the dogs, the older of the two, has since been reunited with it owner. The dog is believed to have been stolen on June 24 in Co. Cork. The owner had placed adverts online and posters around their area in an attempt to get back their pet. Gardaí brought "Jake” out to the owners home and were satisfied with the owner’s description of the dog and its excitement, awareness of his surrounding, and location of his kennel.
Jake's owner, Gerard said "I'm absolutely thrilled to get Jake back. I had lost hope cause he was gone for so long. I tried everything to get him back – I tried social media and put up posters locally. I am extremely grateful to Garda Shane Hayes and Limerick Animal Welfare for looking after Jake and getting him home safely.”
Gardaí are still attempting to reunite the 2nd dog with its owner and are appealing to anyone who can help get him home. Anyone with information should contact Henry Street Garda Station on 061-212400.
An Garda Síochána are aware there has been a number of dog thefts throughout the country recently. However, the number of incidents reported to Gardaí do not reflect a significant increase in dog theft. If your dog has been stolen, report the matter to your local Garda Station as soon as possible.
Speaking today, Crime Prevention Officer Sergeant Ber Leetch said "I would firstly like to thank the member of the public who phoned us when they noticed something suspicious. Assistance like this is invaluable.
"As we are hearing a lot about dog theft, it can make dog owners feel unsafe and worried about their beloved pets - so we would advise you take extra precautions for their safety. For your dog’s security, I would recommend they are microchipped so that they can be easily identified if found and returned to the owner. Also place contact details on their collar in the event that they escape. Ensure that your home and garden are secure to prevent theft and deter potential culprits.
"If you have a high value breed of animal you may wish to consider CCTV and other crime prevention measures. If you are buying a dog, or returning a dog to its suspected owners, make sure the person is bona fide” she added.
Gardaí are following a definite line of enquiry and expect to progress the investigation in the very near future.