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Pet theft exploding - and the most likely culprits revealed

JILTED lovers going through a messy break-up are a leading cause behind missing and stolen animals, a pet detectives says.

New police figures reveal dozens of pets, including dogs, cats, birds and even fish, have been reported stolen across the Gold Coast in the 12 months to June.

The Bulletin has revealed several cases of alleged pet theft in the past year, including a Corgi that was not returned to its owners by pet-sitters, and a German shepherd that was taken in similar circumstances.

Both dogs were eventually returned to their owners.

Pet detective Kirilly Cull said she believed 80 per cent of animals that went missing were taken by people known to the pet owner.

"For example, you've got the disgruntled neighbour, the disgruntled family member, an ex-partner, somebody who has been at your property and taken a liking to your animal … but mostly a lot of cases at the moment are related to people who are going through breakups," Ms Cull told the Bulletin.

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"It's just like children (during separations). If they want something they can take it, but then if you want to get it back you have to go to court. And we have to evaluate what the story is."

She said pet thefts were possibly driven by vendettas, as well as money and greed.

Haku the corgi has been returned home safe to owner Carmen Pham by pet theft investigator Kirilly Cull from Missing and Stolen Pets Australian Picture: Jerad Williams
Haku the corgi has been returned home safe to owner Carmen Pham by pet theft investigator Kirilly Cull from Missing and Stolen Pets Australian Picture: Jerad Williams

The pet detective said people could be charged with stealing by failing to return to a found companion animal.

Police figures show 234 pets have been reported stolen in the past five financial years, 160 of which were dogs.

Twenty-four of them were feared stolen - the majority of which were dogs - from July to December.

Haku the corgi has been returned home safe to owner Carmen Pham by pet theft investigator Kirilly Cull from Missing and Stolen Pets Australian Picture: Jerad Williams
Haku the corgi has been returned home safe to owner Carmen Pham by pet theft investigator Kirilly Cull from Missing and Stolen Pets Australian Picture: Jerad Williams

Sergeant Clint Drew, of Southport Station, said investigating pet thefts was not "black and white".

Sgt Drew said often the stories of those involved changed and he believed, at times, perpetrators used the animals to be vindictive.

"With those pet incidents, sometimes you've got to take a different approach and you've got to look below the initial (complaint) and just find out why the (pet) is being held ransom. Nine times out of 10 there's always a vested interest."

Kirilly Cull is one of the Gold Coast's lead pet investigators. She is talking about the number of Gold Coast pets that go missing every year. Pic Tim Marsden
Kirilly Cull is one of the Gold Coast's lead pet investigators. She is talking about the number of Gold Coast pets that go missing every year. Pic Tim Marsden

He said generally people who notified police about a possible pet theft had "evidence of some form".

A Queensland Police Service spokesman said: "Within the Gold Coast district there is no noticeable trend in terms of pet theft. Reports of alleged pet theft have, on average, remained consistent over the past few years.

"Theft of pets is stealing, which is ultimately an offence. As such, matters of theft are investigated thoroughly by local police."

Originally published as Pet theft exploding - and the most likely culprits revealed



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