Dog fighting theft feared
Are houses being targeted?
Abad- taste hoax or dog fighters targeting dogs to steal – whatever the marks on Porirua fences mean, they have pooch parents worried.
On March 10, Waitangirua resident Karena Toa came home to find two white lines painted on her fence, one in chalk, the other in paint.
A month earlier she would have passed it off as a child playing, but she had seen the same marks on Facebook the week before, in posts warning about possible dognappers.
Toa said she was immediately concerned for her 10- year- old pitbull-cross staffordshire bull terrier, Honey.
‘‘We could have come home and not had a dog. It’s really scary. She is just so friendly and would go with anyone,’’ Toa said.
‘‘She’s such a loyal and lovely dog. It would have broken my heart to know someone would have taken her for dog fighting.
‘‘We keep her inside at night now and take her with us when we go out.’’
This month concerns have been raised by several dog owners on Facebook, who have reported similar activity involving paint, chalk and tin foil in Titahi Bay, Tawa and Waitangirua.
Many believed their homes were targeted to steal the dogs for a possible dog fighting ring, but Porirua police sergeant Jonathan Westrupp said there was no confirmation that was the case.
‘‘We are aware of public concerns and at this stage we are investigating any information we receive, including unsubstantiated information surrounding the marking of houses,’’ he said.
Last year animal advocacy group Paw Justice mounted a campaign with singer Tiki Taane, to raise awareness about dog fighting.
It alleged dog thieves were operating in Auckland, marking homes and supplying dog fighting rings with bait and fighting dogs. The allegations were criticised by police.
Westrupp said there had been no reported dog thefts in Porirua this year, a fact backed up by Porirua City Council animal control team leader Murray Chilcott.
‘‘I’ve heard of [the concerns], but we’ve had no confirmed reports of dogs being stolen,’’ Chilcott said.
‘‘Our belief is if somebody was arranging for a dog to be stolen, they would be giving a physical address.
‘‘I don’t suspect it’s to do with dogs being stolen, but in saying that I’d say be vigilant. Don’t panic, but be aware.’’
Chilcott said he encouraged people to keep their dogs fenced, registered and microchipped, to make them easy to find if they did go missing.
Karena Toa managed to scrub the marks off her fence, but since the incident she has kept Honey close.
‘‘It has made me a lot more cautious. I’m so scared for my dog, because she is so lovely,’’ she said.
Best friend: Karena Toa now keeps her dog Honey inside.