A WOMAN who can't have children has been left devastated by the suspected theft of her young dog, which she treated as her child.
Kasey Murdoch's female white bulldog cross puppy Kaylee, or Baby as she is called, went missing on December 10.
Ms Murdoch is certain she was stolen.
A spike in the number of disappearing dogs across Central Queensland has raised concerns something more sinister may be at play.
Posts about stolen dogs being used for underground animal fighting have flooded social media sites over the past few months, and Friends of RSPCA Gladstone president Judy Whicker is certain the rumours are true.
"It's definitely happening, I'm positive of that," Ms Whicker said.
"But it's just hearsay at the moment; it needs to be proven."
Gladstone 'pet detective' Steve Roberts said Biloela was a major hot spot and dogs were disappearing left, right and centre.
A member of the Pet Detectives Lost & Found - Gladstone Region Facebook page, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, said she had come across a number of stolen Gladstone dogs for sale in Dubbo, NSW.
Ms Whicker has also received countless reports from the public about stolen dogs, but she said no-one was game enough to advise the RSPCA cruelty line or Crime Stoppers with concrete evidence.
"The only way this will be stopped is if more people are more vigilant and if they see a suspicious looking vehicle or vehicles, which will probably have a cage on the back, lurking round the streets, to contact the police," she said.
Neither Gladstone Regional Council nor police have received any reports of stolen dogs in the region.
Ms Murdoch received a call a few weeks ago from someone who had come across her missing dog for sale on Facebook.
"My baby was selling for $200," she said. "I tried to find the advert myself but it had been deleted."
She immediately reported it to police.
Ms Murdoch said on the day her dog was stolen, workers next door said they had seen her at 3pm, and by the time her flatmate got home at 4pm the dog was gone from the backyard.
"There was no sign she could have gotten out. All the gates were closed.
"All I want is her back. I want my Baby back."
Ms Murdoch, who can't have children, said her dog had been like a child to her.
"I bought her everything. Her Christmas presents are still wrapped under our tree," she said.
JANETTE Edwards is convinced her staffy has been dog-napped.
On December 14, her nine-year-old dog Buddy disappeared from her electric-fenced yard.
But her second dog Bruno, a bull mastiff, was still there.
"He had been attacked by another dog," Ms Edwards said.
"I'm guessing they put another dog in the yard to distract him."
In the weeks leading up to Buddy's disappearance, Ms Edwards came home to find her little gate wide open.
Assuming it was school kids, she had it wired, but not her bigger gate.
"He was taken out of the bigger gate with his electric collar on," she said.
"There is no way he could have gotten out himself. I had been thinking of getting a surveillance camera installed. I wish I had now."
Ms Edwards has filed a police report, searched for more than 47km, phoned countless vets, put ads in the paper and posted hundreds of flyers.
"Each day gets harder," she said.
Lost dogs recorded on the council's website for the past six months:
- Jan: 15
- Dec: 23
- Nov: 12
- Oct: 19
- Sep: 15
- Aug: 13