Area residents and an Albany, MO, Animal Control officer say they have a problem on their hands. Someone, they say, is stealing dogs off the streets.
"This white van pulled up, grabbed his dog and just took off," said Albany Animal Control Officer Marsha Adams.
Adams said it's been happening lately in Albany and other towns nearby. Dogs go missing. People report seeing a white van nearby. They tell Wanda Pickerel, a longtime resident and self-described "local character," and Pickerel spreads the word.
"There was a little Pom in South Hill and a blue heeler that belonged to Kathy that she never did find. And then there was my neighbor's beagle," Pickerel told KCTV5 News.
There are a few success stories. A dog named Prince went missing around Christmas.
"He was in a locked, fenced in yard with a privacy fence. The lock was undone and the gate was left open," said Marina Beebe, Prince's owner.
Amazingly, 10 days later, Beebe heard a bark outside her house.
"Went to the door and there he stood, half frozen, very thin, with lacerations all over his neck. His feet were all cut up and so were his paws," Beebe shared.
It was similar for Amos' family. He was gone for a week but then made it back with road rash down his back legs.
The owners had a second dog disappear. She has not come back.
"We're still wondering where she's at and if she's OK," said owner Jessica Raush.
The dog owners said they think someone is stealing the dogs, often purebreds, perhaps to sell, but somehow a couple have managed to escape. They want it to stop.
"Whoever's doing this knows that these aren't pets, they're family members. They need to stop because it does affect us," Beebe said.
The owners say several of them have reported their missing dogs to police but that investigators have very little to go on.
If anyone has any information about this mystery, please call the local police or the Albany Animal Shelter at 660-254-4434.
Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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