A brave dog walker fought back against heartless thugs who tried to steal her beloved pooches.
Anne Marie McGlynn suffered a broken nose when at least three men attempted to snatch her two dogs, DublinLive reports.
Even though the robbers punched Anne in the nose, she refused to let go of her 12-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Collie Cross.
Speaking to RTE’s phone-in chat show Liveline, Paul McLay said his sister Anne was attacked in broad daylight.
He added: “The guys just hopped out of the van, trying to take the two dogs off her.”
Paul believes that his sister was targeted in a dognapping attempt as gangs have been targeting pooches in the area.
The thugs left Anne lying on the ground with blood pouring from her face.
She was ready to go to great lengths to save her pets from an unthinkable fate, even if it meant putting her own body on the line.
Her brother said: “She was assaulted first and then she went down.
“She tried to punch back. She made contact with one of them.”
Throughout the whole ordeal, Anne Marie never let go of her dogs.
She is still greatly upset by the incident and is left searching for answers.
The family is appealing for people in the area at the time to share dashcam and CCTV footage, so that an incident like this never happens again.
He encourages walkers in the area to be aware of their surroundings, as these robberies can happen at any time of the day on the busiest of routes.
It comes after The Mirror previously reported on how lone women walking puppies are being targeted by organised crime gangs as the value of their animals soars in lockdown.
Pedigree breeds can fetch up to £3,500 on the black market as breeders struggle to keep up with demand.
Now people are being warned about walking pets alone in isolated spots after a series of attempted snatches last week.
On Wednesday, two men with a fake RSPCA badge on their van approached Ceira Fleming, 23, who was jogging with collie-cross Callie near Poole, Dorset
She said: “They told me my dog matched the description of a stolen dog and they would have to take her for tests.
“The men weren’t in uniform. When I started to ask questions, one of them looked annoyed and started to get out. I slammed his door shut and ran off.”
Lauren Barnes, 28, was confronted by two men while walking her £3,000 golden retriever puppy Bentley near Horsham, West Sussex, at 10.30am.
She said: “A white unmarked Transit van suddenly veered alongside me.
“Two men in black woollen hats were staring at my dog. The passenger started to get out but I pulled out my phone to take their picture and they sped off.
“They looked really menacing. I think they targeted me because I was a young woman out alone with a nice puppy.”
Criminals can make more money from selling puppies than drugs.
Demand has rocketed as families with time on their hands in lockdown decide to buy a fashionable pet.
The value of chow chows, dachshunds, pugs and bulldogs has risen by nearly 75 per cent since March, with pugs leaping from £684 to £1,220 and French bulldogs from £1,251 to £2,128, according to the Dogs Trust.
The RSPCA said they were hearing of more attacks on lone dog owners and added: “It’s worrying.”
Debbie Matthews of SAMPA, the Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance, said: “It’s important for the public at large to be vigilant when out walking their dogs.
“Be dog theft aware. Nowhere is safe from these monsters.”
Sussex Police said: “Our rural crime team are gathering intelligence and highlighting crime prevention advice among the dog-owning community.”
In the UK around 2,000 dogs are reported stolen each year but only 5% end in a conviction, with usually just a fine. Campaigners want tougher sentences.