Fianna Fáil Senator Erin McGreehan says proposed new legislation that increase the punishment for those guilty of dog theft need to be made into law in light of the recent reported increase in thefts of the beloved pets.
The north Louth representative says that the status of dogs and other pets should be increased to allow for tougher punishments to be meted out. Her comments come after party colleague James Browne TD proposed such legislation last month.
“Dog theft, and the theft of other pets is rising,” she said in a statement. “The online selling site, Done Deal, temporarily suspended the posting of adverts selling dogs, such is the volume of dog theft in the country at the moment.”
“While preventative steps can and should be taken by dog owners, we need stronger legislation which reflects the emotional value of a pet to it’s owners. The theft of a dog is a traumatising experience for the dog owner and family members who have a loving bond with their pet. Naturally, it will be exceptionally distressing for the stolen dog too.
Last month, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee confirmed that the thefts of animals were not classified as different from any other type of theft logged in the Garda PULSE system. Other types of thefts can be isolated due to having a specific code, but animal thefts do not have a code.
Deputy Browne is in the process of drafting new legislation to give more legal status to dogs and other pets to ensure those who steal them are given tougher sentences. He says their theft should be punished in the same way as if someone steals any non-living object, such as a mobile phone or a power tool.
“The current law does not reflect the emotional harm that can be caused to victims of pet theft. The penalty for pet theft should be more severe than for the theft of a non-living property. The TD is proposing the creation of a new offence called the theft of a companion animal.
“I look forward to working with Deputy Browne when this legislation comes before the Seanad to address this awful situation,” Senator McGreehan asked.
— Senator Erin McGreehan (@ErinMcGreehan) August 10, 2020