Kilkenny SPCA issued a warning confirming that incidences of dogs being stolen have increased in recent weeks in the city and its environs.
There are fears among many animal rights activists the dogs are being used in organised dog fights.
“We have our suspicions about small groups of people involved in organised dog fighting. We receive reports from time to time of dogs being stolen and used as bait. It is very difficult to catch these people in the physical act of dog fighting and we need the public’s assistance in cracking down on this type of crime,” a spokesman said.
In recent days, two people were caught red-handed trying to steal a dog from a car close to the city centre. Fortunately the animal was saved when the owner disturbed the pair.
Meanwhile, two dogs were found poisoned close to their home in Tullaroan earlier this week. It is not known if it was deliberate or accidental.
A spokesman for the voluntary organisation urged people to be vigilant and to never leave dogs unattended outdoors. “We would ask all dog owners to be very careful and to keep their animals under supervision at all times in public places.
“It is also essential that all dogs are micro-chipped,” he said.
Anyone that has been a victim of this type of crime or has witnessed an attempt to steal or remove a dog in the area should report it to Kilkenny SPCA on 056 7771635 and the gardaí on 056 777 500.
It comes as gardaí in West Cork are investigating an incident where a dog had its four paws cut off while it was still alive.
Just last month, there was a national outcry after a Jack Russell, Marvin, in the Mayfield area of Cork City died an agonising death when his throat was cut open and an attempt made to cut off one of his hind legs.
The dog was found by local children dumped in a ditch in Ballinderry Park. He was bleeding profusely and struggling to breathe.
A €10,000 reward was offered by a number of animal rights groups to anyone who had information relating to the people who carried out the horrific attack.