Puppy stealing ring fears sparked

Ingrid Pietroniro and her son Michael think that their 12-week old staffy puppy (inset) may have been targeted. Picture: Martin Kennealey d415375
Ingrid Pietroniro and her son Michael think that their 12-week old staffy puppy (inset) may have been targeted. Picture: Martin Kennealey d415375

The family, which had owned Tyson for just five weeks, believe the incident could have been a co-ordinated hit rather than a simple burglary.

Ingrid Pietroniro said her family woke on Wednesday morning not suspecting anything.

‘When I saw the laundry door open and the puppy not in the room, I still didn’t really think anything of it,’ she said.

‘There’s six adults living here, so you don’t think the worst. It was only when we discovered that my husband’s wallet was stolen and my son’s iPad was also taken that we really realised something was up.’

Ms Pietroniro said two strips of tape placed on an electrical dome had caught her eye in the weeks leading up to last Tuesday. After reporting the missing puppy to police and vets in the area, she believed the tape could have been a mark for burglars to identify where the pup was living. Similar accounts also popped up last week in Kewdale and Coogee.

A spokesman for WA police was unable to confirm the rumour, saying he had not heard of the red tape marking before.

Last year RSPCA spokesman Tim Mayne dismissed as a hoax social media rumours that red squares were being put outside homes to alert canine thieves of a potential puppy target.

While he did not discount this specific case, he said the RSPCA had received no information to suggest this was occurring in 2014.

Hilton Vet Hospital owner Cathy Van Niekerk said puppy theft was occurring, although she couldn’t confirm the red tape theory.

‘We have a duty of care because the community needs to know that puppies are being stolen,’ she said.

‘One of our puppy school pups was stolen last week from an enclosed front yard last week, and it was only left alone for a moment. We’re urging people not to leave their puppies alone in the front yard.’

South Street Veterinary Clinic nurse manager Emily Fielding confirmed puppy theft was occurring.

‘There’s definitely puppy theft and it is quite common,’ she said. ‘We’ve probably had three or four accounts since September until now, when it’s a popular time for people to get pets.’

Mr Pietroniro said whether the rumour was true or not, she just wanted her puppy back. ‘We are devastated that someone could be so cruel to an animal,’ she said.