Stolen Qld dogs sold on black market for up to $8000
A Queensland pet Detective agency is blaming COVID for a growing black market, which has triggered a spate of dog thefts across the southeast.
Pet Detective Kirilly Cull said more than 500 pooches had been snaffled and secreted away to be sold on the black market in southeast Queensland for top dollars over the past year.
Ms Cull, based on the northern Gold Coast, said people staying at home during the pandemic were looking for pet companions but were also strapped for cash and stealing animals to sell.
Working with the police, she and her team uncovered a pet stealing racket which has been flogging off prized "poodle" cross breed dogs, usually in the carparks of some large shopping centres.
She said the thieves were stealing dogs from properties or picking up escaped dogs on the street and then tapping into an online underworld where dog sales get premium prices.
The business is so lucrative that certain dog breeds were fetching more than $8000 on a well-known auction site, where sales had skyrocketed since March last year.
Cavoodles, moodles, shih tzu-crosses, dachshunds and labradors, were the most popular.
Ms Cull and her team of five, which includes a lawyer, two private investigators and field agents, have been involved in seven cases in the past year where microchipped dogs have been illegally sold to a third party or not returned to their owners.
The practice was also affecting pets in Logan where an elderly chihuahua, Jipsy Rose, was taken from a Browns Plains vet clinic and later sold in a Bunnings carpark.
The white chihuahua "went for a wander" and was picked up by a Browns Plains resident, who dropped her off at a vet's clinic for the owner to pick up.
But when the owner went to collect her dog, a thief had already been and illegally picked up the pooch.
A $100 online reward helped to flush out the missing dog along with an impassioned Facebook post by a volunteer care worker.
The pair were reunited more than a week after the pint-sized dog was stolen from the Browns Plains vet clinic, sparking a police investigation.
Ms Cull's team also knock on doors in suburbs including Burleigh at the Gold Coast and Browns Plains in Logan in their quest to save stolen dogs and cats from dastardly deals and return them to their owners.
"We have never been so busy as people are looking to make extra money during COVID - some of these animals are sold to get money for drugs but it really just comes down to greed," she said.
"It's easier to take a knapsack into a house and chuck in a small dog than steal a large TV.
"These fluffy dogs are the most popular and we know of one case where a cavoodle fetched up to $8000 on the black market."
Toowoomba, Redbank Plains, Browns Plains, Wynnum, Beaudesert, Caboolture, Rockhampton and Gympie were suburbs Ms Cull named for high dog nappings.
She said they were also suburbs where drug addicts were living and looking to pay for their habits.
This week, Ms Cull and her team helped solve the case of Elvis the dachshund stolen from a property in Rosewood.
Dog breeder and owner Sharyn Beed said her two-year-old pedigree was locked in a separate yard at her Lower Mount Walker home when a thief prised open the gate and stole him.
He was found on Tuesday, 48km away at Camira after allegedly being dumped in bush near a primary school.
Last month, Logan father Ron Southwell was close to tears when his son's 11-year-old Jack Russell foxy-cross called Minnie got caught up in a brazen daylight car theft.
Her next case is to seek justice over the rehoming of microchipped missing staffy Zeus, who was found eight years after going missing but is yet to be returned to his registered owner.
Another case, which occurred in Logan last March, also sparked fears of a dognapping syndicate.
Bella, the Staffordshire bull terrier cross, went missing from her Slacks Creek home and, after being sold to a Bahrs Scrub couple for $200, was finally reunited with her family three months later.
Lost Dogs Logan, a free pet service which helps reunite owners and dogs, said Bella was sold from a Crestmead site and data from an identification chip was used to contact the owners.
Originally published as Stolen Qld dogs sold on black market for up to $8000