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Stolen dogs returned after social media campaign

John McKeever with his returned greyhounds. Pic: Declan Doherty

A LETTERKENNY family whose dogs were stolen in the early hours of Saturday morning have been reunited with their family pets thanks to a major campaign on social media.
The McKeever family from Ballymacool were devastated to find that their three greyhounds had been taken from a shed close to their home after it was broken into overnight on Friday.

Speaking to the Donegal News yesterday John McKeever said he could not believe his luck when he answered the door at half five on Saturday evening to find that someone had returned the three dogs.
On Saturday morning the family woke to find the gate at the rear of their home in Letterkenny had been twisted and the three pets taken from sheds.

John explained how the family had raised the two pups from a litter of thirteen last January after deciding to retire their mother ‘Tiger’ due to an injury.

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“We heard barking in the middle of the night but didn’t think much of it. But when we woke up we knew the gate had been twisted off and the dogs were gone. We were just gutted that anybody would do such a thing,” said John.

He also revealed that whoever stole the dogs had done their homework and came prepared with their own leads for the dogs.

“I have all the leads hanging on nails in the shed, and none of them were touched. The signs were there that the dogs had gone through a lot of trauma during the theft.”

The family including John’s wife Noreen and children Grainne, 19, ad Ronan, 21, immediately put the word out by social media about the missing pets.

“To be honest, I never had any faith in social media, and I’d always give out to the children for being on fake-book as I called it. But now I have seen first-hand the power of it.”
An appeal on the Donegal News facebook page reached almost 6,000 people and drew messages of help and support for the McKeever family.

John said he will never be able to express enough thanks for the help he received from friends, neighbours and people he didn’t even know on social media for their help in ensuring the dogs’ safe return.
“We had everyone looking for the dogs and it wasn’t long before we had people making a number of possible sightings. A friend who is a taxi driver scoured every housing estate in the town and I was getting phone calls from people who had reported seeing the dogs in different vehicles.” he said.

To the family’s delight just before 6pm on Saturday evening, a young boy called to the house and said he had found the dogs straying on the street.

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John said he would not like to think what would have happened to the family’s pets if they had not launched a search for the dogs named Tiger, Otto and Buddy.

“I think they would have used the two younger dogs for lamping. The mother dog Tiger is old so they might have just dumped her or shot her.

“We’re just so thankful to have them back because we have had them since they were born. I hate to think what Christmas would have been like if we didn’t get the dogs back.John said that he will now install extra security including a CCTV camera to ensure that they will be safe.

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Donegal News is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. St. Anne's Court, Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland