Karen Sloane’s 11-week-old American staffordshire puppies are back home in Berkeley a week after being stolen, having been found almost 100 kilometres away in Callala Bay.
Ms Sloane made an impassioned plea for her pets’ return through the Mercury and social media last week, after pups Lexi and Dakota disappeared from her backyard the previous Saturday morning.
A series of community tip-offs led Ms Sloane to track the dogs to Callala Bay, south of Nowra, 94 kilometres from the backyard from which they were pinched.
“I had someone contact me to say they were near Nowra, and my friend who lived down there helped me put the pieces together,” Ms Sloane said.
“Then another guy contacted us to say he knew where the dogs were.”
Ms Sloane arranged a meeting at Bomaderry to pick up the dogs. She said the man who gave her dogs back had expected a reward, but she said his reward was “that we didn’t have the police there waiting for him”.
“We think whoever stole the dogs just hid them down there, to escape all the attention on the theft,” Ms Sloane said.
The dogs were in good condition, bar a number of fleas, and Ms Sloane said they would now be kept inside her house.
Sergeant Jason Harrison from Lake Illawarra police said rumours of an underground dog-fighting ring were still unfounded, but cautioned dog owners to remain vigilant about how they protected their dogs.
“It looks like someone was trying to profit from an expensive breed of dog, but even if you have an average breed of dog, maybe there is a bit of concern,” he said.
Sgt Harrison urged people to report any suspicious activity to police.
“If you suspect someone is involved with dog theft, call Crime Stoppers,” he said.
“If we have enough information coming in, we can make connections and have a starting point.”
Anyone with information, should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.