Valuable dog stolen after owner threatened by armed thief

Victim believes he was targeted because his French Pit Bull Rocco is an expensive breed

French Pit Bull, Rocco, who was stolen while on a walk with his owner on Sunday. Photograph: Facebook

French Pit Bull, Rocco, who was stolen while on a walk with his owner on Sunday. Photograph: Facebook


A valuable dog was stolen in Cork on Sunday after its owner was threatened by a masked man armed with a hammer who pulled up in car and demanded he hand over his dog.

Denis McCarthy said he was walking his French Pit Bull, Rocco on Ballincollie Road in Ballyvolane on Cork’s north side on Sunday when a man “jumped out of the car with a face mask on, a hood up and a hammer. He said: ‘give me that dog’.”

“He tried to hit me a couple of times with the hammer. I was ducking trying to avoid it. He didn’t use it as a threat. He didn’t use it to scare me. He was going to hit me. He just grabbed the dog, got in to the car and sped away.”

Mr McCarthy told the Neil Prendeville show, on Cork’s Red FM, there were two other men in the front of the Ford Focus and the masked man got into the back seat.

“The first thing I did was try to take a picture of the car registration but they had covered the registration with tissue. They knew what they were doing. It wasn’t an opportunistic thing. Then I rang the guards and told them what had happened.”

Mr McCarthy said he takes the same route with Rocco nearly every day but says he never expected something like this.

He said he believed that he was targeted because Rocco, whom he has had for over a year, is an expensive breed of dog. “Other people walked past me in the area with their dogs. He didn’t stop and try and do it to them. He stopped me.”

Mr McCarthy was given permission by gardaí to share his story on social media after they arrived back with Rocco at around 11.30pm on Sunday night. He said he didn’t expect it to “blow up” with the story being shared online over 24,000 times.

“I can’t thank people enough. I think it is the reason I got him back. “They said they wouldn’t give too much information and that they would be back in contact with me today and that they would let me know what happened. I don’t know how they got him back.

“It is not just theft. I want the person to be charged with what they did to me with the hammer. The gardaí will be down today for a statement,” said Mr McCarthy, adding that he was hugely relieved to get Rocco back safe and well.

Mr McCarthy said Rocco is a placid dog who is much loved. “He couldn’t be more friendly. Rocco is sitting on the mat this morning like nothing happened. He is a happy dog. We have never had a problem with him. He is a brilliant dog.”

Gardaí said in statement: “The incident was reported to gardaí and, as part of the investigation, the dog has since been recovered and returned to the owner. No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.”