Calls for a police taskforce to investigate dog thefts and illegal fights grew louder yesterday as owners moved to safeguard their pets.
With social media site Facebook awash with sightings of perpetrators, Maitland police told the Mercury they had not yet received any substantiated reports of dog theft or illegal fighting.
“If there is credible information we would like to hear it through Crime Stoppers or personally here at the station,” Inspector Tim Seymour said.
“You can’t assume that people with a cage or a ute are involved in illegal activity.”
A white Hilux utility implicated in the attempted theft of dogs, carrying dog crates partially covered by a blue tarp was seen at Williamtown last Friday.
Whistleblowers spotted what appeared to be the same utility at Kurri Kurri that afternoon and at 2.45pm speeding out of Cessnock.
“This has gone ballistic without anyone coming forward with this information and talking to us,” Inspector Seymour said.
An attempted theft was reported to police at Warners Bay on Sunday.
Items were taken from the laundry of Catherine Benge’s house; a committee member of animal welfare group So Cares (Society of Companion Animal Rescuers).
While her kelpies and a foster dog, a Maltese terrier, were locked inside the house, the items were taken and later found dumped further along the street.
“We have a six foot (1.8 metre), secure Colorbond fenced yard and they still managed to get in,” she said.
“We’re deeply concerned as we live in a quiet, safe street, yet we no longer feel safe.”
So Cares vice-president David Atwell said the problem was bigger than Maitland and Rutherford.
“This attempted burglary against a member of So Cares reinforces the need, now more than ever, for police to take these crimes seriously,” he said.
“If the theft of Tank the bulldog wasn’t enough, how many more dogs need to be stolen before enough is enough?”
In a mysterious turn of events Tank, an Australian bulldog whose owners Amy Cole and Kane MacDonald had offered a $6000 reward for his safe return, was found dead by a roadworks site at Farley on Monday, June 25.