Two incidents in south Cowichan recently have sparked public fears about a possible dognapping ring working the area.
The most recent incident occurred in Cobble Hill this weekend when Stacey Weatherall said a woman’s attempt to steal her six-year-old pup Wynter was only thwarted when Weatherall’s father drove up.
Weatherall’s dogs had been let out just minutes before to enjoy a morning lounge in the sun on their large lawn, leading her to the public Facebook page: Shawnigan Lake Events, News, Links, Community Forum to warn her neighbours.
“I just want to warn you all, this is the second time this has happened in the last three days,” she wrote. “There is a lady in a white SUV and she has leashes and she has tried calling my dogs to her twice now to take them away.”
“This lady is ruthless and she will stop at nothing to steal your dogs! I am so thankful my dad was just pulling in to see this.”
Shawnigan Lake RCMP Sgt. Tim Desaulniers confirmed his detachment received a complaint about that incident and one other.
“We did have two reports over the last couple of weeks. One was on Aug. 19 on Whittaker Road on the Malahat and one was Sept. 7 on Carlton Drive in Cobble Hill.”
In the Cobble Hill case, “the single female stopped her vehicle and was calling the resident’s dog and said that she had hit it and they knew that that was not true because the dog was fine, and [the accused] continued to call it and then gave up and left,” Desaulniers confirmed.
An alert was issued on Aug. 20 by FLED – Find Lost & Escaped Dogs Vancouver Island via that group’s Facebook page that two women were seen in a white SUV with tinted windows at the Spectacle Lake mobile home park scoping out yards for dogs. That incident resulted in the Aug. 19 report to police.
“That one was reported to be two women,” he said. “It sounds like they actually picked it up and minutes later returned it.”
Terrill Sigurdson said it was a chihuahua that was picked up on Whittaker Road on Aug. 19. She said the alleged dog napper only let the dog go after being chased.
Sigurdson said from what she’s seen from Weatherall’s accounts, it could be the same person involved in both incidents.
“They are quite brazen doing this right in front of the dog owners,” Sigurdson said. “Everyone needs to keep an eye out. It almost didn’t seem real when it happened to us. We have acreage so we don’t leash our dogs, they run free most of the time.”
Desaulniers noted there is all types of speculation on social media as to who the dog napper(s) may be, but there is no confirmation of the suspects’ identities.
“Social media has kind of blown up with this [story] the last couple of weeks,” Desaulniers said. “There’s no confirmation that it’s these two.”