Only seven dog thefts were reported to Gardai in the regional division in recent months, despite speculation that hundreds of dogs had been stolen by heartless gangs.
The number was disputed by members wtih several saying that they knew of at least that number each, having been contacted by devastated pet-owners over the summer months.
Cllr Karey McHugh told the meeting that this summer had seen a significant increase in the number of dog thefts.
“I know one man outside Tuam who had two of his dogs taken last week. This has become a massive issue across the country with dogs being taken across the country and the for sale ads being taken off off classified ad sites online. I would safely say it is an issue that is becoming rampant,” she said.
However, Chief Supt Tom Curley said that there had been “seven or eight” dog thefts reported to them in all of the Galway garda divisions.
“We are working closely with our national officers, and we have joined up wiith different divisions to see who is doing this crime.
“ There is a huge amount of money involved in this, often rising into the thousands These dogs are in sheds and gardens and are targeted. It is not out of control. There has been number but not in the significant numbers,” he said.
In response, Cllr McHugh said that she had information that the number was far in excess of seven or eight, and that obviously, the public were not always reporting the matter to the gardai.