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TD calls for jail sentences for pet theft

Aontú leader Peader Tóibín has called for a ten-month prison sentence for pet thieves following a spate of dog thefts during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Deputy Tóibín has proposed the State crackdown on what has been termed a ‘pandemic of theft’.

Commenting on the need for legislative action, Deputy Tóibín said: “The theft and resale of pets has almost become a profession with an apprenticeship process and its own unique signals and codes.”

Bill: Peadar Tóibín has proposed the legislation

The legislation is also being supported by Independent TD Sean Canney.

The Criminal Justice Theft and Fraud Offences Amendment Pets Bill 2020 would see a minimum ten-month prison sentence for people convicted of stealing a pet.

He said: “The sentence and punishments for those who steal family pets should be harsher than the penalty for stealing objects.

“To most people, their pets are viewed as more than a mere household or farmyard asset, a dog or a cat can be a member of the family and their loss, or worse still – unexplained disappearance, causes real upset. We should recognise this by installing an appropriate deterrent into law.”

The Party for Animal Welfare (PAW) has welcomed Deputy Tóibín’s bill but believes a “longer sentence is needed” to combat the problem.

There have been 577 reports of stolen animals made so far this year, and a further 3,348 reports of lost animals.

In August, 10 suspected stolen dogs were discovered by Gardaí during the search of a property in Rathkeale.

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