BREAK-IN: A file photo of the Rutherford RSPCA shelter, where two dogs were stolen on Wednesday night. Picture: Phil Hearne. TWO dogs responsible for viciously attacking three people and terrorising a suburb have been stolen from an animal shelter.
Central Hunter police have been called in to investigate the theft, which occurred overnight on Wednesday and has rocked some New Lambton residents still recuperating from the October 17 attacks.
One man lost some flesh from his upper arm and a woman, who was attacked in her front garden, suffered serious puncture wounds to her hands and arms after four dogs got out of their Wickham Road yarn and began roaming the streets.
Both were hospitalised because of the severity of the injuries.
The dogs, two adult dogs and two almost fully-grown pups, were returned to their owners the day after the attack before again being taken by authorities.
A legal battle has ensued about the future of the dogs, which have been held at the RSPCA shelter at Rutherford since the attacks.
The owner has argued the attacks were out of character, thatthey were companion animals, andthat the gate which locked them in the yard had been kicked in the night before the attacks.
The legal battle is ongoing.
Then on Wednesday night, someone broke into the Rutherford shelter and snatched the two mature breedingdogs.
The pups were not taken.
“We are just gobsmacked that these dogs are back out in the community somewhere,’’ one resident, who witnessed the attacks, said.
“I am a dog lover, but the people who were attacked and the safety of the community do not seem to be a priority of Newcastle City Council.’’
A council spokesman confirmed the shelter break-in and theft and said it was a police matter.