Authorities are responding to an increased number of missing dog reports in the Casper area.

Valerie Kulhavy with Wyoming Missing Canines says the Casper area could be a hub for a regional dognapping and reselling ring, and downtown Casper dog-owners have been hit especially hard since the start of 2013.

“We’ve found indications that there is a theft ring,” Kulhavy said. “There are certain days where there are seven or eight dogs missing.”

Kulhavy says the Casper Humane Society has received about 230 reports of missing dogs and approximately 170 still haven’t been found.

“We’ve began to document this and get as much information as we could,” Kulhavy said.

Chris Walsh, the Casper police chief, says roughly six missing dog cases reported to Metro Animal Control this year are still open. Walsh says responsible pet ownership will ultimately cut down on the number of missing animal reports.

“Take a look at your backyard, take a look at where you let your animals run,” Walsh said. “Make sure that it’s secure not only near the gate, but the fence, and make sure that they can’t dig underneath it, and make sure the fence is of good quality."

Walsh wouldn’t say definitively whether there is a dognapping ring in the Casper area, but he did urge suspected dognapping victims to file police reports as soon as they can.

“It’s difficult, when the dog is missing, to determine whether it ran away or was taken,” Walsh said.

You can file a police report online through the city of Casper’s website.

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