Stolen dogs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 1, 2011

More stolen dogs, more speculation of local fights

By Emily Williams

A recent series of reported thefts of pit bulldogs and related breeds leads some owners to suspect clandestine dogfighting activity in the area, according to several people interviewed by The Panolian in the past week.

Gaeba Magness, Danny Webb and Jackie Banks all suspect their pets were stolen. Magness’ son Jeremy owned “Sarj,” a pit bull/mastiff mix for which the family placed a “missing pet” advertisement in The Panolian on January 18.

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They received a call on January 22 from Danny Webb who believed he had found the dog dead in a ditch. Webb had been out searching for his own dog, a three-year-old boxer which he suspects was stolen.

Magness’s dog was missing from the Eureka Road/Good Hope Road area, and Webb lives on nearby Crouch Road.

Magness said Webb described the dog he found dead under a bridge.

“He had been fought and mistreated and disposed of,” Gaeba Magness wrote on the cover sheet of the incident report she sent to authorities. “How cruel is that? Please stop this.”

Magness said her son paid $250 for Sarj.

Her son holds out hope that the dog under the bridge wasn’t his, and asks that anyone with information about his dog call 662-561-2849.

Webb said he is pretty sure his dog was stolen around the same time Magness’ dog was stolen.

Webb paid $550 for his dog.

Webb’s large boxer has red and white markings. If you have seen the dog call the owner at 662-934-8521.

Another pit bull owner, who asked The Panolian not to use his identity, reported his two dogs, a male and female pair worth $1,500, stolen from Sardis last month.  

Days later an anonymous caller told him where to find the dogs, but only one was staked out at the location the caller reported.

The owner still hasn’t found the female.

In today’s Panolian, pet owner Jackie Banks advertises a reward for information leading to the recovery of his eight-week-old pit bull puppy, Missy.

Banks said he was gone from his home less than 30 minutes, just long enough to gas up his car, last Thursday when his puppy was stolen from her cage in his carport at 104 Cedarcrest Circle, Batesville.

The puppy is a distinctive buckskin color, Banks’ pick of a litter of 11 pups born at his sister’s house in Louisiana. Banks had brought eight of the puppies to his home in Batesville, sold five and had given one to his son in Illinois and one to his mother-in-law.

“I kept Missy because the kids wanted her,” Banks explained.

Before selling her litter mates, Banks said, he had asked each prospective owner if he planned to use the puppy for dogfighting. In each case, Banks said, he was assured the dogs were desired as pets only. The pups were registered and sold at prices of $350-$500, he said.

When Missy was missing from her cage last Thursday, Banks checked around with family members to be sure no one from the family had picked her up. Then he went to the Batesville Police Department to report what he believed to be a theft of his property.

Over the weekend, Banks got a possible tip about the whereabouts of Missy. He reported that to the Batesville Police Department Monday morning, but since the suspected location is in another county, the BPD officer explained that the department would have to contact another agency to follow up on the theft.

Fred Sanders with the Panola County Sheriff’s Department has helped with the Magness case and said he has no leads so far.

If anyone knows about dogfighting in Panola County, they are asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at 662-563-6230 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-729-2169.

Callers to Crimestopppers are not required to give their names.

Cash rewards are offered for tips leading to arrests for a crime.