Farmer ‘thrilled’ with happy ending to canine ‘tale’ of woe

A Co. Cork farmer was thrilled to be reunited with his missing dog recently after Gardaí appealed for help in trying to locate the owners of suspected stolen dogs.

Gerard MacMahon and his canine companion, Jake, hit the headlines after they were reunited thanks to Limerick Gardaí.


Shortly after 7:30pm on Monday, July 13, Gardaí from Castleconnell Garda Station were following up on reports of suspicious activity in the car park on the old Dublin Road, Limerick.

They spoke with two men who had two male springer spaniel dogs in their possession.

When Gardaí enquired about their ownership of the dogs, the men were unable to provide satisfactory information. They claimed that the dogs were microchipped.

As the dogs were found to be cowering in their cages, a decision was made by Gardaí to seize them for their welfare, pending verification of ownership. The dogs were brought to Henry Street where they were housed in kennels at the rear of the station.

A local vet scanned both dogs for microchips but didn’t find any. One of the men later went to Henry Street station and produced documentation which Gardaí believed to be fraudulent.

The two dogs were then brought to Limerick Animal Welfare shelter while Gardaì carried out further enquiries.

‘No sign of him anywhere’

Meanwhile, Gerard, a dairy farmer with 74 cows who also finishes beef cattle at 20 – 21 months, had been searching for his springer spaniel, Jake, that went missing on Wednesday, June 24, from Carrignavar, north of Cork city, a very strong dairy farming area.

I bought Jake when he was about two-and-a-half years of age and he is now about five years of age. He is always up and down to the farm. The evening he went missing, I realised he wasn’t around for his food.

“When dealing with a cow calving, I often put him in the shed. He normally comes to a whistle. The house is on a different road to the farm and there was no sign of him anywhere,” the farmer explained.

“I thought he might be around some place but there had been reports of dogs being stolen and my wife Bridget was more definite that he was gone,” he said.

“We put appeals up on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms, as well as a notice up in the local shop,” said Gerard.

“Some friends noticed that the Gardaí had put Jake’s photograph up on social media and we were very fortunate and really thrilled to get him back through the Gardaí and Limerick Animal Welfare.”


Gardaí brought Jake out to the MacMahons’ home on Tuesday, July 21, and were satisfied with Gerard’s description of the dog and Jake’s excitement, awareness of his surroundings, and location of his kennel.

I’m absolutely thrilled to get Jake back. I had lost hope because he was gone for so long.

“I tried everything to get him back. I am extremely grateful to Garda Shane Hayes and Limerick Animal Welfare for looking after Jake and getting him home safely.

“Jake is great company. He is a very friendly sort of a dog. He has distinctive markings on his back and is now microchipped. We were very lucky to get him back,” said Gerard, who has kept springer spaniels for over 40 years.

Jake quickly settled back into his home, reacquainting himself with the neighbouring Jack Russell bitches, he said.

I have had diesel and a chainsaw stolen from the yard before. One day I saw a fellow coming and he had different number plates on the front and back of his vehicle.

An Garda Síochána is aware there has been a number of dog thefts throughout the country recently.

Report as soon as possible

However, the number of incidents reported to Gardaí don’t reflect a significant increase in dog theft. If your dog has been stolen, report the matter to your local Garda Station as soon as possible, is the advice.

Garda Shane Hayes told AgriLand it was a “good news story”, adding that he was thrilled to be able to reunite the farmer with his four legged friend.

“Dogs are like family to most people,” he said, adding that the case is still under investigation.

Crime prevention officer Sergeant Ber Leetch said: “I would firstly like to thank the member of the public who phoned us when they noticed something suspicious. Assistance like this is invaluable.

“As we are hearing a lot about dog theft, it can make dog owners feel unsafe and worried about their beloved pets so we would advise you take extra precautions for their safety.

For your dog’s security, I would recommend they are microchipped so that they can be easily identified if found, and returned to the owner. Also place contact details on their collar in the event that they escape.

“Ensure that your home and garden are secure to prevent theft and deter potential culprits.

“If you have a high-value breed of animal you may wish to consider CCTV and other crime prevention measures.

“If you are buying a dog, or returning a dog to its suspected owners, make sure the person is bona fide,” she said.