Dognappers strike fear in breeders

Karen Sloane woke early on Saturday morning to hear her dogs frantically barking, trying to get their owner's attention.

As she rushed out to the yard, she quickly discovered what had sparked the animals' cries for help.

Thieves had broken into her Berkeley backyard and stolen two 11-week-old American staffordshire puppies from their enclosure.

Ms Sloane, who breeds the dogs, is now desperate to get the puppies, Dakota and Lexi, back, turning to Facebook for help.

"Someone out there obviously knows something," she said.

"We just want them back; one of them is a show dog; we just want them home safe and sound."

The theft has left the family fearful, worried their home has been targeted by criminals looking for high-priced or fighting dogs.

"We've never had any problems in the past but we've heard of a woman who had a puppy and an older dog stolen recently," Ms Sloane said.

"We found a pick axe in the yard that we think the robbers were going to use to either break the padlock on the gate or fend off our rottweiler; they were definitely organised.

"There had to be more than one person involved for them to make off with both dogs so quickly; they tried to grab another dog too but she's either bitten them or squirmed and managed to get away."

Sergeant Jason Harrison from Lake Illawarra police said officers had heard rumours of dogs being stolen for fights but no-one had been investigated over the allegations.

"We've only had comments and messages over Facebook but we don't have anything to substantiate it," he said.

"There have been suggestions that people look for dogs to steal - if it's a little dog they use it for bait and if it's a big dog it's used to fight, but we haven't had any reports of dogs fighting or locations so there's nothing more for us to follow up.

"Until someone comes forward with more information, it's just rumour and speculation."

Investigations are continuing.

Please contact Ms Sloane on 0406 987 032 or Lake Illawarra police.

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