Missing dogs may be victims of theft
VERNAL-To search the streets for a missing pet is frightening and miserable, especially in the cold winters of Vernal. Unfortunately, dog owners may have cause to worry that their pup didn't run away, but was stolen.
"I had one in here the other day that I'm sure was stolen, but I had no proof," said Nel Bertram, receptionist at Vernal Pet Clinic & Wellness.
"It does seem to be an issue that's going on," said George Bertram, veterinarian at the clinic.
A number of dogs suspected as stolen all bear a remarkable resemblance to each other: all are small, many with a mostly white coat. Owners of these dogs need to have particular vigilance in keeping them safe.
Kathleen Hacking, a Vernal resident, suspects theft because her shih tzu went missing immediately after being out with her large lab, but only the small white dog was taken.
"They were out by the Kid's Canal for about 15 minutes, and the lab came home, but he didn't," she said.
Gizmo is a white, tan and black shih tzu; about 9 months old; and has been missing just over one month.
A microchip under the skin of the shoulder, a simple piece of technology, can unequivocally identify an animal.
"But it's only valuable if Animal Control scans it," Geroge Bertram said. "If itgoes out of the area or is sold, it doesn't always help."
Tony Collins also thinks thieves were involved in the disappearance of her miniature Pomeranian, Micky. Collins said Micky has a very shy and stay-at-home temperament, which contradicts theories of a runaway. Collins also reported a car pulling into the driveway when Micky was in the front yard immediately before he disappeared on Oct. 20.
Collins has put up posters, checked at the shelter, and kept her eyes open for any clues, but has been disappointed.
Micky is a 7-year-old white, bear-face purebred Pomeranian.
Julie Curry has been looking for her Havanese, Jasper, since Nov. 15. In early evening, Jasper and his companion dashed out of the front yard, Curry said. She heard barking, then abrupt silence. When she checked on the dogs, only the companion had returned.
Two days later, the companion ran down the side of the road, barking at a car. Curry said this is why she suspects a car in the theft.
Jasper is 6 years old and has a white and gold coat.
Mandy Knight has been missing her Yorkshire terrier for four months. Knight had stepped inside the house for a few seconds to put on slippers after taking Bella out, but the dog was gone.
Bella is almost 2 years old and has a black and red coat.
Leona Roberts is one of the few victims who have a happy ending. Her dog, Gracie, went missing from her yard. Out of the three dogs there, only the imperial shih tzu went missing.
"She's really cute," Roberts said.
Roberts posted flyers, and when the dog was found a week and a half later, Animal Control knew who to contact.
"The lady called the shelter to report her dog missing and described my dog, but she called it a pug. They knew something was up; she didn't even know what breed it was," Roberts said.
Vernal Express Rahael Kitchen