Dog racket fears

By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au

A SPATE of dog thefts from Calliope and Beecher has some residents suspicious they are being used for illegal dog fights or being re-sold.

Peter, who lives on an difficult to access property in Calliope Shire has just had his fourth Staffordshire bull terrier (Staffy) stolen in five years.

"It is very, very suspicious, that's all I can say,'' said Peter, who was not willing to have his photo taken or last name published.

Now Peter will invest more than $3000 on a new fence and surveillance cameras to ensure it does not happen again. He is also offering a $5000 reward for any information that leads to the safe return of his dog Winston.

"We don't have kids, as far as I'm concerned these dogs are my children and I'd do anything to get them back,'' Peter said.

Peter lives in an area that is not easily found and protected by a secure fence, making him think that whoever is stealing his dogs must know exactly what they are doing.

Peter said he had also had other breeds of dogs, which had not been stolen.

"It has only ever been the Staffys they've taken,'' Peter said.

According to Lyn Robinson from Gladstone Pets and Ponds, the disappearance of dogs from the Beecher and Calliope areas is becoming a regular occurrence.

"There is definitely something very suspicious going on,'' Mrs Robinson said.

"It just makes me think that they are taking them for fighting.''

Mrs Robinson said it was possible that someone in the area could just be cruel enough to be "burying them in some backyard in the area.''

Gladstone police have confirmed they are investigating the disappearance of several dogs in the Beecher and Calliope area.

Mrs Robinson said a Staffy could fetch nearly $900 in areas like Brisbane without papers identifying them as purebreds.

Mrs Robinson said countless residents from Beecher and Calliope had been in her store passing on information about the disappearance of their pets.

This latest disappearance comes after another Beecher resident's male Staffy was beaten to within an inch of its life.

Jennifer and Joe McGuire had their two Staffy dogs stolen before one was shaved and set free, while the male was severely beaten with a hammer last year.



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