Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Officials: Dog thieves likely not in ring



By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WILLIAMSTOWN - The mystery of the many missing puppies in the Northern Kentucky area may not be solved, but the Grant County Sheriff's Department believes the dogs didn't likely get swiped as part of a theft ring.

Despite dozens of reports to animal shelters about stolen dogs, deputies have found no evidence of a spirited dog-theft ring operating in Northern Kentucky.

"Three people have filed reports with the sheriff's department claiming their dog was stolen, but we have uncovered no evidence to support those claims," said Chuck Dills, chief deputy of the sheriff's department.

Law-enforcement officials with six other departments across Northern Kentucky say they have received no credible reports of stolen dogs in recent weeks. The departments include police and sheriff's offices in Boone, Campbell, Kenton and Pendleton counties.

Detectives with Kentucky State Police Post 6 in Dry Ridge also said they were not investigating an organized dog-theft ring.

Dills acknowledged other dogs are missing. Their owners filed reports at animal shelters and not with police, he noted. Dills surmises that many of the missing animals simply wandered off and were "taken under the wing" of other people.

Grant County Animal Warden Wanda Bedard said dog owners across Northern Kentucky became concerned for the safety of their pets after published reports of missing dogs.

One such report was the disappearance of Rachael Poole's 4-year-old mixed breed named Scooby. Poole said her dog went missing on Aug. 7.

It was found dead in her yard several days later.

Sheriff's deputies confirm someone likely killed the dog, but stressed that the act isn't believed to be connected to any organized theft ring.

Poole disagrees. She believes thieves are targeting purebred dogs and selling them for thousands of dollars.

She asks anyone who has a missing dog to e-mail her at rysp111@aol.com.

Bedard says just the volume of dogs reported missing - 40 and counting - indicate to her that there might be a theft ring at work.

E-mail jhannah@enquirer.com




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