Missing dog riddle has locals uneasy

Claire TyrrellCountryman
The West logo

Working dogs are still mysteriously disappearing in the Mid West, despite some reprieve for a handful of owners.

Reports of unusually high numbers of working dog breeds going missing from Geraldton and Northampton in late December sparked fears thieves were targeting the animals for breeding or use in dog fights.

At least seven working dogs or pets have vanished from Mid West properties in the past two months.

Since _Countryman _ printed an article earlier this month, two of these dogs have been found.

Mount Tarcoola kelpie 'Darcie' was returned to its owner in January after it disappeared around Christmas.

Chapman Valley farmer Trevor Royce's kelpie went missing on December 12, but was found on the same day.

Mr Royce went to Geraldton police, who later informed him someone had seen the dog roaming in Nanson.

Chapman Valley resident Dave Barnden's blue heeler Dixie went missing on the same day as Mr Royce's kelpie, and remains nowhere to be seen.

"She must have been picked up," Mr Barnden said. "She doesn't normally go anywhere."

Mr Barnden said he was outside with his two dogs when he turned his back and they both vanished.

He found his labrador that afternoon, but Dixie never returned.

"It just seems strange. I've been to all the rangers and no one has seen her," he said.

"With the amount of dogs that have been going missing and where they have been going missing from, something is happening that is not right."

Kelpie 'Darcie' vanished from an Ogilvie farm in early December and still has not been found.

Darcie's owner Kelsey Rounsevell said she had heard of suspicious activity in recent months, which led her to believe the dogs were stolen.

"I have heard of people knocking on doors to look at people's dogs or driving up people's driveways and not going in," she said.

Ms Rounsevell said rumours were circulating about dogs being taken for use in fighting or pig hunting.

"People have been asking around about pigging dogs," she said.

Kelpies aren't generally used as fighting or hunting dogs, but may be bred against other dogs to produce suitable crossbreeds.

Ms Rounsevell spoke to vets in Geraldton, who said it was possible people could be targeting these dogs for use in fighting.

Geraldton police said they had only heard of one dog reported stolen in the past month.

Anyone with information about the missing dogs or possible dog theft should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails