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terrifying theft French Bulldog SNATCHED from his owner by hammer-wielding thief in Cork

Denis McCarthy was walking his French Bulldog in Ballyvolane, Cork around 4 pm on Sunday when the terrifying theft occurred.


Denis and Rocco

Denis and Rocco

Denis and Rocco

A man has revealed how his valuable pet dog was snatched from him by a hammer-wielding thief while out for a walk.

Denis McCarthy was walking his French Bulldog in Ballyvolane, Cork around 4 pm on Sunday when the terrifying theft occurred.

A man in a white Ford Focus threatened Mr McCarty with a hammer and stole his beloved dog, Rocco.

“I was absolutely gutted – I love him to bits,” said the dog owner.

“A white Ford Focus drove past me and I didn’t think anything seemed suspicious about it – but it turned around in the lane and drove back towards me.”


“A guy jumped out of the car wearing a surgical face mask, a high-vis vest and his hood up.”

“He jumped out of the car and he was waving a hammer trying to hit me – and he said ‘gimme that f***ing dog’.”

He said the man grabbed the dog by the collar and threw the French Bulldog into the car.

“I was still holding the retractable lead, but they drove off with the dog in the car – it just happened in the space of a few seconds.”

While he escaped the ordeal with no injuries, Mr McCarthy said: “He tried to hit me a few times with the hammer”.

As the dog thief was driving away, quick-thinking Mr McCarthy took a picture of the car-reg, which he later realised was covered with tissue.

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“As he was driving away, I thought to take a photo of it but when I looked back at the photo, they had actually covered the reg with tissue paper.”

“They were obviously planning to do this.”

Part of the reg was visible in the photo and gardaí from Mayfield Garda Station were able to use the photo to track down the car, he said.

Mr McCarthy said he walks the route “nearly every day” with his one-and-a-half-year-old French Bulldog Rocco, but thinks he was “being watched for a couple of days”.

After the incident a neighbour had told him “they saw me out walking my dog on Saturday, and shortly after they saw me, they saw the same car – but I stuck to the main road that day.”

He said it makes him feel “terrified”.


Shortly that evening, he was reunited with his dog around 11pm when gardai called to his house with an unharmed Rocco.

“It was quick – I couldn’t believe it.”

He added that Gardai used social media to gather intelligence that resulted in finding Rocco.

“I think they targeted me because he was expensive – they’re an expensive breed – he’s worth a few grand.”

“It’s happening the whole time with dogs, it’s just crazy. I think in lockdown people want dogs and the demand is much higher than it usually is”.

Now that Rocco is home, the dog owner thinks “it probably will happen again” but will continue walking his dog.

“I’ll stick to main roads but I’m not going to be afraid – he loves the walk and so do I.”

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