The recent dognappings have rocked Grant, Iowa and Lafayette Counties. It is unknown what it actually happening to dogs at this point and it is unclear where it might have started.
The media was first informed of a dog from the Lancaster area that went missing on Halloween last year. Grant, a white male husky/lab mix, has been the trusted companion of Cory and Ann Cooley. They found his unhooked collar after 45 days missing on the side of the road outside of Lancaster. A Facebook page was created along with the hashtag with the same name: #bringgranthome. Channel 3000 out of Madison did an interview with the family to get the word out about this missing canine.
Several people started posting daily to the Facebook page with pictures and information about found dogs in the tri-state area to help find this dog. Currently he is still missing but no one has given up looking.
Then the family of Brad and Sarah Crist reported their missing dog, Bo, a male German Shepherd, last seen outside of Mineral Point. He went missing from their home on February 6 and, the same as the Cooley’s, his collar was found unhooked, the day he went missing. Sarah plastered the area with flyers, put an ad in the Republican Journal with a $1000 reward for the safe return of their dog. The ad was placed on the Republican Journal Facebook page and was shared over 1,000 times and seen by many.
Unfortunately this story had a sad ending. The day after the story aired on television, the dog was found shot dead on the side of the road in Ellenboro, in Grant County. The family vet examined Bo and found the dog had been shot and had been deceased for 12-48 hours.
Before Bo had unfortunately been found, there were other cases in Grant, Lafayette and Iowa Counties of attempted dognappings. In Dodgeville, on Feb. 16, a man reported his dog was almost taken by a woman in a blue van. He had let his dog out one afternoon, only to watch a woman grab his dog and place it into her van. The man confronted the woman and called the police. The woman proceeded to say she thought it was a stray and was going to take the dog to the Humane Society. There was a police report but the woman was not charged. At this time, the police are not sure if this is a related incident to the other rash of reported dognappings.
In Mount Hope, a Rottweiler puppy named Brutus was taken on Feb. 12, only a week after Bo.
Over in Cuba City, similar situations were occurring. Two women told the police of separate incidents where an older woman in a white van tried to say she was picking up a stray and the other woman had told police of a male in his 40s or 50s and a lady in the passenger seat watching her dog. She ran out to confront them but they drove away. She was unable to get their license plate number.
On the Cuba City Police Department posted a warning to residents on their Facebook page, looking for any information about the dog thefts.
“If anyone else has similar incidents please try to obtain a license plate on the vehicle, bring your dogs inside and call the police. Do not try to confront the people yourself just be good witnesses,” the page stated.
The Belmont Police Department has posted a similar message on their Facebook page “urging residents to be vigilant and try to get a better description along with a license plate if possible”.
Social media was exploded with several people sharing, posting and commenting about all these missing dogs and several more. A recent page called “Justice for Bo” has close to a $5,000 reward for finding whoever took and killed Bo.
Sarah Crist recently posted a thank you to all those who have helped in looking for Bo.
“This was not how it was supposed to end for Bo, as he was simply amazing! Even though he is no longer with us, he is back home where he was meant to be. We truly appreciate everyone’s caring thoughts, calls, texts and other messages. Bo will be forever loved and missed by us and those that were so lucky to have met him. Justice For Bo!”
The Animal Legal Defense Fund, a fund that protects the lives and advance interests of animals through the legal system, recently offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for shooting and killing Bo. That takes the total reward to around $10,000.
If you have any information about these recent dog thefts, please contact your local authorities.