ANY new laws being considered to address dog theft needs to be enforced.
That is according to Sinn Féin’s Cork North Central TD, Thomas Gould.
Deputy Gould said: “Dog theft is a particularly cruel and nasty crime as pets are not just property but are an integral part of a family. Harsh sentences should be handed down for anyone caught stealing dogs to deter others. However, introducing laws is one thing but implementing them is another.
“Since February 1, 2020, we have regulations on the sale and supply of pets and despite animal welfare organisations reporting hundreds of illegal adverts, the Government have confirmed to me that they are yet to take an infringement case.
The Criminal Justice Theft and Fraud Offences Amendment Pets Bill 2020 has been drawn up by Aontú and is being supported by Independent TD Sean Canney.
He continued: “Last month, Senator Lynn Boylan questioned Minister Hackett about the illegal online sale of pets and her reply was that consumers should do their research before buying a pet.
“This is despite the fact that the public don’t have access to the data to verify if a seller is legitimate and/or if the pet is coming from a puppy farm. Animal welfare organisations are using up valuable resources reporting adverts but it is like chasing your tail.
“As soon as one illegal advert is taken down another one pops up. It also takes days for adverts to be removed by which time the dog is most likely sold.”
He claimed that there is also poor enforcement of the microchipping laws which would help to address the issue of dog thefts and help reunite lost or stolen pets with their families.
He added: “I have no objection to the Government introducing laws to tackle dog theft but I wish they would implement the existing laws.”