Authorities say there is no evidence to suggest there is truth to online speculation Taranaki dogs are being stolen for use in illegal dog fighting rings.
A spate of posts on the Buy & Sell in New Plymouth Facebook page suggested dogs from areas such as Waitara and New Plymouth were being targeted for theft and used as bait in dog fights.
Okato woman Melissa Phillips, who approached the Taranaki Daily News yesterday, said her six-month-old rottweiler husky dog Son had gone missing from her father's Cook St property on Wednesday.
She said she feared he had been stolen for dog fighting.
"That's just sick," she said.
Miss Phillips said she knew of other people who thought their dogs had been stolen and, like her, they had not reported them as such to police.
"I'd have never thought that it was a police matter because it was a dog," the 19-year-old said.
New Plymouth SPCA's Jackie Poles-Smith said they had not received any reports of any dogs being stolen or of an unusually high number of dogs going missing.
"If that's happening then we should be hearing about it," she said.
New Plymouth District Council animal control officer Jim Aitken said nothing had come to his attention which suggested there was an issue with dog thefts or dog fighting.
Senior Sergeant Matt Prendergast of Waitara said they had not received any reports about stolen dogs.
He said he was aware of some of the speculation on Facebook.
The Waitara station had fielded a couple of inquiries about the issue yesterday.
Mr Prendergast said police were happy to follow up any specific information they were provided by members of the public about any dog thefts.
Deena Coster is a Witt journalism student.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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