Rise in dog theft for ring fighting

By: Lynnsey Gardner
By: Lynnsey Gardner

October 21, 2006

A string of canine crimes throughout Augusta have dog owners keeping their pets on a tight leash.

13 dogs have been stolen since Tuesday...and the dognappings may be for profit.

CrimeTeam 12 is On Your Side with what you can do to protect your pet.

Some dogs have been stolen from their yards, others right out of their owner's hands. The most common reason is to train them as fight dogs for a profit...and investigators say recovering stolen dogs is like finding a needle in a haystack.

"We've only recovered one or two in the last few months," Inv. Robin Ashmore told News 12.

In the last few days, 13 dogs were stolen...seven from their yards, six more from the street.

"They're terrible," pet owner Bonita Johnson said. "They don't think about the people they are taking these dogs from...loving homes."

And losing a pet is something Andren Brooks cannot imagine.

"You don't see one without the other," she said of her pets. "I consider them my kids...because they are."

Seven of the dogs taken were pit bull puppies.

"Most folks who steal these dogs train them for fighting," Inv. Ashmore said. "They fight them to the death to make large amounts of money."

One fight could pull in thousands of dollars...but leave dogs dead.

It's a thought dog owners can't bear to think about.

"It's not right to take them, especially from their homes," said pet owner Jessica Pacchiana. "They have feelings like everybody else...and people who love them."

Andren Brooks took extra steps to protect her dogs D.O.G. and Jasper.

"I took the next step to get the implant tracker," she said. "It's so important...because if someone took my puppy that's like taking a part of my life."

Investigators say a pet collar often isn't enough to help find them, since they can be taken off.

Other steps to consider include taking photos of your animals, keeping up with their paperwork, and considering unique ways to spot your pet such as an identifiable tattoo or a microchip.

While some of these options do cost money, it could be money well spent, and save you from becoming a victim later.

Anyone with information on any of these stolen dogs is asked to call the Richmond County Sheriff's Office immediately.

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 newsroom@wrdw.com Fax: (803) 442-4561
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