Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Missing bull terrier turns up safely but owners' fear lingers

Image from fellow bloggers who posted a breed profile saying : "Originating in England, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was bred for bull, bear, and lion baiting. The aforementioned 'blood-sports' were officially eliminated in 1835 when Britain introduced animal welfare laws. However, 'blood-sport' proponents began using this breed for organized dog fighting.

TWO days of gut-churning fear and worry ended with tears of joy this week when a playful Staffordshire bull terrier puppy returned to her Birkdale home. Six-month-old Millie was already home and safe when she starred in a Lost & Found notice in Tuesday's Bayside Bulletin. The owners – a couple and their two daughters – are mystified over how the dog escaped from the property. They are now worried about security and asked not to be identified. Julia, who placed the notice, said the dog's disappearance had made her aware of the high rate of theft of such terriers for dog fights. She said that during Millie's two-day absence she had also posted notices on internet forums including Facebook, researched media reports of dog thefts and confirmed with police that they were investigating the dog-fight claims.
A LOCAL resident found Millie but the fear that she could ever fall into the control of criminals continues to haunt the family. Neighbours reported the dog had barked and yelped late at night before a car pulled up outside the house during heavy rain and quickly had left. "We got our dog back but there are many, many owners out there whose dogs haven't been returned," Julia said. "I have been inundated with calls and emails from people who have lost their dogs. When there is a reaction like this there must be something going." She believed stolen dogs were subjected to unspeakable cruelty in fight rings and the criminals involved needed to be brought to justice.
REPORTS posted on websites about dog thefts in south-east Queensland and the fight concerns have received dozens of comments, including those of sceptics who contend that thieves target purebred dogs because of their value, not for fighting. However, Julia said she had spoken to two detectives, one in the Redcliffe district and other on the bayside, who said the possibility of the dog-fight rings was under investigation. She said a detective confirmed police were still checking claims on one forum that a woman had been driving around Mt Cotton and Redland Bay areas stealing dogs and cats and that residents had taken the registration number of her car. However, the number had not identified any culprit to date, the detective told Julia.
JULIA has put Millie into care at another address, fearing thieves may still target the dog, and was waiting for a neighbour who has security cameras to return home after a break. "We are hoping the video caught something that happened that night and the car that was reported outside our house," she said. "Just how she got out of the property I may never know."

This column has appreared in The Redland Times.

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