“We HAVE your dog. If you want to see your dog again give us €1,000 or we’ll shoot it.”
This is the shocking tone of late-night phone calls received by a County Limerick family, who have been searching desperately for their beloved dog, presumed stolen.
Macey, a Collie cross, went missing from the fenced garden of John and Jeanette Ferguson’s home in Pullagh, Croom on Tuesday, November 6.
Since then the couple have tried everything possible to find her including putting an appeal on a website.
“I know a number of people will think when they see or hear about this is ‘Oh, it’s just a dog’. To us it’s years of love and investment.
“We rescued Macey from the streets of Limerick City back in 1999. She was this little ball of fluff that had been abandoned and left to die on the streets,” said Jeanette. Macey even went on their honeymoon.
Last week after putting an appeal on-line they started receiving abusive phone calls.
“They started with a torrid of abuse demanding €1000 for our dog’s return or they were going to shoot her,” said Jeanette, who has two young sons, Ross and Lewis. The next night a different person rang, again laughing and taunting.
Jeanette says they have heard many stories from friends and Limerick Animal Welfare (LAW) about dogs being stolen and people demanding rewards, dogs stolen for breeding, or worse for fighting.
LAW report that there are huge numbers of dogs being stolen in Limerick.
“It could be for the Christmas market, puppy farming, moving them out of the country to sell, dog baiting, you name it,” they say.
The abusive phone calls have compounded the Ferguson’s pain.
“Each day as I drive home from work my heart is like lead not seeing Macey’s little face or wagging tail. I cry myself to sleep every night and she is the first thing I think about each morning.
“I am now losing hope that she will ever return as she was never the type of dog to wander out of the garden, and she loves her bed and home comforts too much.
“I am now dreading the prospect of facing Christmas, and if it were not for the kids I would obliterate Christmas completely from our calendar. It breaks my heart to think there are such callous and evil people lurking in our society who think they have the right to destroy our family in this manner,” said Jeanette.
They hope by telling their story that somebody might know where Macey is, and to warn others that dogs are being stolen. Contact 085 2479820.