A spate of dog thefts stretching from Maitland to the Upper Hunter has prompted calls for police to establish a taskforce.
The theft of Australian bulldog, Tank, from Rutherford on the June long weekend and a $6000 reward has also put the spotlight on illegal dog fighting.
Animal welfare group SOCARES wrote to the minister for police Michael Gallacher on Tuesday calling for action.
“The people living in the Hunter should not fear that their dogs could be stolen from their own backyards, end up being ripped to shreds and facing a cruel and extremely painful death, just for the entertainment of the criminally minded,” SOCARES vice-president David Atwell said.
“Hence we have called on both the police commissioner Andrew Scipione and Police Minister Michael Gallacher to establish a taskforce to deal with this matter.”
The theft of Amy Cole and Kane MacDonald’s pet, Tank, was referred to in the letter to Mr Gallacher, also duty MLC for the Hunter.
“Amy’s story, unfortunately, is not an isolated one (when) in that same week, 10 other people reported their dogs being stolen within the same region, yet this has been an ongoing problem for this region for some considerable amount of time,” Mr Atwell said.
“It does appear recently, however, that there has been an increase in such thefts.”
Ms Cole and Mr MacDonald offered a $6000 reward for information leading to Tank’s return.
“We got a lead from someone saying he might be in Singleton but we couldn’t find him,” she said.
The couple visited Singleton yesterday to drop more flyers seeking information.
“We’re definitely not giving up hope,” she said. “I hope we can find all the dogs that are missing.”
Any one with information on Tank’s whereabouts has been urged to call Amy Cole on 0421 509 173 or Kane MacDonald on 0421 992 023. Mr Gallacher had not responded to the Mercury’s calls.