Dog fight­ing theft feared

Are houses be­ing tar­geted?

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By RHI­AN­NON MCCONNELL

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.

June 2011:

Oc­to­ber 2013:

De­cem­ber 2014:

March 2015:

Photo: RHI­AN­NON MCCONNELL

Best friend: Karena Toa now keeps her dog Honey in­side.

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