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PAWS OFF; Pet owners on alert after ruthless gangs snatch dogs to fight or sell.

Byline: By SIOBHAN HOLLIMAN

PET owners were warned to lock up their pups yesterday after a spate of abductions.

An animal welfare group is blaming a gang of professional dog traders who snatch the pets and sell them on.

They believe the mutts are being taken from the safety of their homes and sold at country fairs.

Some of the dogs are passed on for breeding but others become involved in vicious fights to the death.

The Galway Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (GSPCA) claimed the number of families calling the shelter has soared.

Margaret O'Sullivan of the GSPCA said: "We've had calls from dog owners who live in counties Clare, Sligo and Mayo wondering if their dog might have been handed in to us. We know of a number of huskies that suddenly disappeared from the Sligo area."

The GSPCA has appealed for dog owners who have th pet stolen to contact them or the Garda immediately.

And people should check out local fairs to see if their dog is being sold on the black market but were warned not confront sellers. Ms O'Sullivan added: "We advise people to bring a photo and dog licence so they can verify the dog is theirs."

Irish Mirror Comment: Page 8

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 14, 2006
Words:215
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