Dog owners have been warned to be vigilant following reports of a spate of dog-napping in the Grantham area in recent weeks.
Customers calling at Kennelgate, the pet superstore in the town, have told staff about strangers approaching them while they were out walking their dogs and threatening to take the animals away from them.
Angela Richardson said a customer who was exercising her dog at Great Gonerby encountered a man who asked to take a photograph of the animal and when she refused he threatened to take her pet. Another caller at the shop was approached by a man who also made threats to abduct her dogs while she was walking them in Foston.
Staff have also been told of dogs being kidnapped in Corby Glen and North Hykeham, the latter incident ended with the dog being later found dead and suspected of being used for bating.
Angela said: “It’s quite scary what is happening. Everyone loves their dogs and we want to warn them about this threat. Children often walk their dog and it is worrying that there are people out there who want to take their pets.”
She added: “It seems to have affected a mix of dogs. It could be they are being sold, used for bating or trained for fighting. We have contacted the police but they say they can’t do anything unless people report incidents to them.”
The RSPCA said it did not receive or record reports of stolen dogs but it said owners should be on their guard if there was a problem locally.
A spokeswoman said: “We would advise that if anyone is concerned they should make sure their pets are microchipped, which could improve the chances of them getting their dog back. They should make sure gardens are secure and be vigilant with their animals. If anyone sees anything suspicious they should contact the police.”
A spokesman for Lincolnshire police said there had been no reports of dog-napping in the area.