A Telarah woman is devastated by what she fears is the abduction of her beloved dog Henry.
Rhianna Gilmour says she believes Henry, an 18 month-old Mastiff-cross, did not escape but was stolen from her yard in the early hours of Thursday morning.
“I’m heartbroken, I couldn’t go to work,” she said.
“I live by myself, it’s just me and Henry.
“I’m a mess, we sleep in the same bed every night.”
She is worried he was targeted for his breed and is destined for an underground dogfighting ring.
“He would never hurt anyone or anything,” she said.
“He’s just a big sook.
“That’s what worries me the most, he wouldn’t even be useful in a fight.”
Ms Gilmour said Henry had fallen asleep inside on Wednesday night. At about 1am she put him in the backyard which has a tall, latched gate and went to sleep. But when she awoke at 6am she found the gate wide open and Henry missing.
“There’s no way he could open [the gate] and he’s a big dog but he couldn’t jump it,” she said.
“You can’t see the backyard from the road. Someone must have opened it.”
Ms Gilmour contacted police, vets, the RSPCA and animal impounds.
She flagged his microchip as missing and blanketed suburbs from Telarah to Cessnock with fliers.
By Friday night she was no closer to finding Henry and turned to social media to spread the word.
She set up a Facebook page called Bring Henry Home. It has gained over 1900 likes in just over two days,.
“I’m offering a $2000 reward, no questions asked,” she wrote online.
Offers of support flooded through with people from the United States and Hong Kong offering money to increase the reward.
“I was looking through the pet pages on Facebook. Lots go missing but everyone is sharing Henry’s story.”
Pet Search’s co-ordinator Lee Jefferies said it was important not to assume a missing pet was abducted for dogfighting because people could become hesitant to turn in neighbours, friends or families to police. This could hinder the search.
“If you believe what you read on the internet you would think there was a dog fighting ring in every suburb stealing dogs every day,” she told The Mercury.
“This is untrue and there hasn’t been a single case of this yet.
We are not naive to say there is no dog fighting in Australia but it is not the levels that exist in other countries.”
But Ms Gilmour said she would offer the reward, no questions asked.
“He is such a loving and loyal dog. If someone has taken him as pet you could buy two of Henry for the reward money,” she posted online.
Henry escaped the yard once, over a year ago, through a gate beneath the house. But since Ms Gilmour secured that passage, he has not made it out again.
“He got out once and just waited and slept on the front porch until I got home from work,” she said.
“So I don’t think he would just roam around and not come home.”
“But [the yard] is secured now, there’s just no way he could get out.”
“Please be a good person and bring him home.”
Anyone with information on Henry's whereabouts should contact Rhianna directly on 0403522451