Dog owners in fear as criminals turn sights on pets

DOG OWNERS are said to be ‘frightened to leave their homes’ following mounting concern locally about attempted dog thefts and suspicious behaviour.
During lockdown the demand for dogs soared, as did prices sought for puppies. Cocker Spaniel pups were selling for up to €2,500 in June while this week Shih Tzu and Cavalier King Charles puppies were advertised at around €1,300.
In Fermanagh residents and community groups have alerted others to suspect activity. It is alleged that properties in Lisbellaw and Brookeborough had locks tampered with earlier this month. In a separate incident it has been claimed that an attempted dog theft occurred at Castle Archdale at the beginning of July during daylight hours.
Community groups have urged dog owners to be vigilant and have advised walkers to change their routes often and where possible walk with others as it is feared that thieves may be watching an area for a period of time before attempting to steal dogs.
Pets Lost and Found Fermanagh has been highlighting the issue and has appealed to everyone to report every incident and instance of suspicious behaviour to the police.
Speaking to the Herald this week local dog owners highlighted their concerns.
A Lisbellaw dog owner who did not wish to be named told the Herald that she was anxious about returning to work and leaving her dog alone at home.
“Before lockdown my dogs spent a good part of the day home alone as we went to work. Social media is rife with warnings about attempted dog thefts and suspicious vehicles. The horror stories are everywhere from puppies being stolen to micro chips being cut out of dogs.”
Another local dog owner told the Herald that he has stopped walking his dog on public roads.
“I live in the countryside and I used to walk my dog a two mile route
around the roads close to my home.
“For over two weeks now I have stopped doing this after hearing that potential dog thieves were familiarising themselves with walking routes and figuring out where dogs lived.
“I am honestly afraid to leave my dog alone at home at the minute. She’s part of the family and think that some families have gone through the heartbreak of having a loved family pet stolen is sickening. It needs to stop.”

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 28 Belmore Street, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, BT74 6AA