DOG THEFT is set to be treated as a more serious crime under new proposed legislation.
Fianna Fail TD James Browne says he plans to draft the new law to give more legal status to family pets so that harsher punishments can be dished out if they're stolen.
Current law treats dogs and other pets like property, and their theft is treated no differently to the theft of a mobile phone or a flowerpot.
It isn't clear how much tougher the proposed legislation will make the sentences for the time being, but the idea of making punishments more severe is a popular one with the Irish public.
The news follows a recent spike in dog theft cases.
Gardai released warnings last month about an increase in the number of thefts during lockdown.
It's understood that dogs have been fetching high prices for sellers over the past few months, particularly with demand skyrocketing as everyone looks for ways to entertain themselves during lockdown.
Over the weekend, an 85-year-old pensioner wrote a post on Facebook pleading for help in finding his 12-year-old springer spaniel who had been taken from his home.
The elderly farmer described the dog as his "best friend" and said he was "more than just a dog - he is my reason to get up in the morning."