A number of dog owners in the Rossville and Chickamauga areas have come together in recent days because they believe someone is stealing pets.
Since July dozens of dogs, primarily boxers, pit bulls, and Chihuahua breeds, have gone missing, and many of the heartbroken owners believe the dogs were stolen.
“I think that someone had to have snatched him up and took off with him,” said Alexandra Eaton, whose 6-month-old Chihuahua, “Cowboy,” went missing along Schmitt Road on Thursday, Sept. 6. “He wouldn’t have just run off.
“My two other dogs weren’t gone, just Cowboy,” Eaton said. “He’s a beautiful, timid little dog, and I pretty much take him everywhere with me. People just love him. So I hope that he was taken just because somebody wanted him instead of something else.”
Many owners believe the boxers and pit bulls are being using in an illegal dog-fighting ring, while the missing Chihuahuas are being taken for bait.
“I hope that’s not the case,” Eaton said. “But sometimes they use the small dogs as bait to get the fighting dogs riled up.”
A number of dogs have gone missing in Rossville’s Mountain View subdivision. In early July, boxers belonging to neighbors Jimmy Cooper and Cassie Davis disappeared on the same day.
According to Tiffani Johnson of Chickamauga, a lot of the pets have gone missing in the blink of an eye when owners let them outside to use the bathroom.
“My dog is three years old and has been going outside for two years, which is why I think somebody took him,” said Johnson, whose has been missing her dog Kozzmo, a Yorkie, since Sept. 6. “He wouldn’t just run away…I know that for a fact.”
Police: No missing dog reports filed so far
Chickamauga police chief Michael Haney said he has heard of dogs missing in the Rossville area, but that no one has filed a report with the department regarding missing dogs within Chickamauga.
“To my knowledge, there haven't been any reports filed with us about any lost or possibly stolen pets, so it's not something we're actively pursuing,” Haney said.
With Rossville bordering both Walker and Catoosa counties, sometimes people are unaware of who they should contact in such a case.
“We haven't had anyone come to us about this matter within our jurisdiction,” Rossville police chief Sid Adams said. “It's not something we're investigating at this time.”
Detective Lt. Chris Lyons with the Catoosa County Sheriff's Office said his agency has been involved in a couple of cases throughout the summer pertaining to missing pets.
“There have been a couple of cases, where a dog has gone missing and an owner has reported it, but there's nothing connecting the two incidents,” Lyons said. “In those cases, it was a situation where a chain was pulled out of the ground and the dog was gone. Based on calls we've received and reports that have been filed with us, we're not looking at a situation where there's a serial dog-napper out there.”
Lyons said that anyone missing a dog or anyone who believes their pet has been purposely stolen, should contact the Sheriff's Office and file a report.
“We certainly don't want anyone to be victimized or have anyone feel like we aren't interested in crimes of this nature. But it's a situation where we cannot help or solve a matter unless we are aware of the problem. We have to be notified of the matter before we can look into it.”
Facebook group: “Bring Our Dogs Home”
The abundance of missing dogs has prompted the owners, their friends, and general supporters to create a Facebook group called “Bring Our Dogs Home” in order to gather information and spread the word.
“The group is intended for missing dog owners who believe their dogs have been stolen,” said group creater April Dover. “The page is so that the owners can post pictures and give information that could lead to the stop of dog-napping in Walker and Catoosa counties. We just want to get the word out about these pets any way possible.”
Anyone with information regarding missing pets in the Chickamauga or Rossville areas is encouraged to visit the “Bring Our Pets Home” page.