Pet owners warned over high rate of missing animals

Athlone Animal Welfare and Moate Dog Rescue are advising pet owners to be more vigilant regarding the identification and whereabouts of their pets after a rise in the number of lost or stolen animal reports in recent weeks.

They are asking dog owners to ensure their dogs have a collar, tag, or preferably microchip. A microchip is a permanent ID that cannot be removed or lost, like collars and tags. Owners need to ensure the microchip is registered with their details.

Athlone Animal Welfare and Moate Dog Rescue suggest that owners spay or neuter their pets. This will help to keep them from wandering off. It will also eliminate any resale value for breeding purposes.

They also suggest you keep recent photos and written descriptions of your pets. If you had to put up a picture of your pet on a poster would they be easily identifiable from the photos you have of them?

Do not let your pet roam free outside of your house. A dog wandering outside of private property without an owner is illegal, is classed as a stray, and may be picked up and brought to the pound by a dog warden or, worse still, get stolen or injured.

Leaving your dog tied up outside a shop should be avoided. One owner should always stay outside with the dog. If you need to go shopping on your own, leave your dog at home.

Caoimhe O’Connell, chairperson of AAW, advises that if your pet goes missing, put up posters with details and a recent photo in your area and in your local vets.

Contact local animal welfare groups such as Moate Dog Rescue and Athlone Animal Welfare, and websites like www.lostdogs.ie or www.lostandfoundpets.ie with details.

For dogs, you should additionally contact the local dog pound and local Garda station to notify them in case they have received a report about a similar dog.

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