I received a call early Monday morning from someone who lives near the Three Forks area and they told me that in the past month or so over 100 dogs have gone missing around Three Forks, Ennis, Harrison and the Whitehall area.
When I questioned the person further, they told me that the “rumor” circulating in these towns is that dogs are stolen to be used for training in dogfighting.
According to the caller, there are “unofficial reports” of people trying to drive through these towns during the day and then returning at night to try to pick up the dogs. The person also mentioned that they had heard stories of people trying to break into fences in the middle of the night.
Of course, dog fighting is illegal here in Montana and is a state and federal crime. Not to mention that it’s an incredibly cruel thing to do to an animal. So, is there any truth to the rumor? Are dogs stolen from these areas? If so, are they used to train in illegal dog fighting circles?
I mean, let’s be honest, we live in a world where it’s very easy for rumors to start and when you fire up social media and their incredible reach, they can spread like wildfire. I wanted to see what the authorities had to say, so I decided to contact law enforcement and ask them these questions.
I spoke with Deputy Sheriff Tim Clark of the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Department about the rumor and he told me and I quote:
“We have had no reported pet thefts in Three Forks in the past year.”
The deputy sheriff had also not heard of any dogfights in the area. So nothing in Gallatin Country has been reported, but what about other counties in the area?
I contacted the folks at the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and asked if they had any reports of stolen dogs or other rumors and Christine Keltner of Records Management said there had been no report of stolen dogs in Madison County. last month, however, a dog was reported missing on March 30.
Keltner also stated the following:
“We received two reports from different people about a man with a dog grabbing a pole walking into people’s yards. We were told there was video of this, however, at this time the department madison county sheriff hasn’t seen this video”
Our thanks to the Gallatin County and Madison County Sheriff’s Offices for taking time out of their busy schedules and speaking with us. So, it seems that the rumors are just that, rumors. Which, in all honesty, is a good thing. I would hate to think that there is some sort of dog theft ring out there and that the people involved are participating in animal cruelty.
That said, according to caninejournal.com, dog thefts have been on the rise for a few years now, and some breeds are more valuable for breeding. Although it doesn’t look like we have a dog thief in our area, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for our four-legged friends.
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