Warnings have been issued to Isle dog owners, amid fears that beloved pets are being stolen from gardens to be used in savage fights.
Social media sites Facebook and Twitter have been awash with alerts, that name the West Butterwick area as a ‘hot spot’, with at least one pet reported stolen.
The Facebook site ‘Dog theft action’ begs folk in North Lincolnshire to “please be aware of people stealing dogs from homes to use as bait in dog fights.”
One post adds: “They are rife in this area, West Butterwick and Amcotts. I cannot sleep for worrying after seeing pictures and many posts.”
Dog owner Paul McCartan, the deputy mayor of Crowle Town Council has re-tweeted messages from bodies such as ‘Dog theft action’ and the Rural Crime network.
He told the Bells: “As the Isle is very much a rural area people need to be vigilant. I understand dogs are being taken with one particular incidence in West Butterwick. As a dog owner myself I would be devastated if mine was stolen and I’ll do everything I can to prevent this happening.
“It’s incredible to me that dog fighting goes on as some kind of sick sport, and the police appear to have trouble cracking down on perpetrators due to the secrecy surrounding it.
“No-one is saying that this is currently happening on a huge scale but it is better to be forewarned. I would urge anyone to report any activity they consider to be suspicious straight away to the police.”
He advised owners to ensure that their dogs wore collars with their details on and also said pets should be microchipped.
Dog breeder Sheree Pettinger from West Butterwick said: “It’s awful that people have to be so careful.
“My sons tell me that talk is rife around the village about dogs being stolen and I have been warned by several people myself to watch out. The more people are aware that this is going on the better.”
Reports have been made to police.