Sunday, October 5, 2003

Ring suspected of stealing dogs


'Brazen' thieves target N.Ky.

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

VERONA, Ky. - A "puppy mill" ring is suspected in the theft of more than two dozen purebred dogs in Northern Kentucky since August - including some stolen while children played nearby.

Thieves are targeting breeds such as Jack Russell terriers, poodles, collies, dachshunds, huskies, Rottweilers and pit bulls, Wanda Bedard, a Grant County animal control officer, said Saturday. They can sell for thousands of dollars.

"They're incredibly brazen," Bedard said. "They've gone and untied dogs from front yards in the middle of the day. They jump out of a van, untie the dog and yank it in the vehicle."

The animals have been taken from Boone, Kenton, Campbell, Grant and Pendleton counties, sometimes in front of their owners.

The puppies likely are destined for resale, or to be bred so their puppies can be sold, Bedard said. The number of thefts could be closer to 50, counting another 20 missing dog reports.

Authorities suspect at least 12 people from Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio are involved, some driving vans and trucks that have been seen casing neighborhoods.

Rachael Poole's 4-year-old bulldog, Scooby, was stolen Aug. 7. Now, the Verona woman is compiling a list of missing or stolen dogs (contact her at rysp@aol.com). "We had one lady whose collie was stolen," Poole said, "and she chased after the thieves and got her dog back. Then next day, they came back and stole the animal again."

E-mail dklepal@enquirer.com




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