Updated at 8:45 a.m. on Friday, July 15


Dog owners in Southcentral Alaska are on guard after several disturbing reports of people stealing dogs.


After one woman took to Facebook to report three dogs, all of which were pit bull or boxer breeds, had turned up beaten and at least one was found dead in a sewer, Anchorage Animal Care and Control started investigating.


Meanwhile, Alaska’s large pet community is using Facebook groups like Lost and Found Pets Alaska to share information and warn other pet owners.


Lisa Switzer, vice president of the Alaska Bully Rescue, says she’s noticed an uptick in people reporting dog thefts, mostly in the Matanuska Valley. She’s worried bully breeds, like her dog Disco, are being targeted.


“We’re just seeing a lot of overwhelming things like dogs just being taken out of people’s yards. I mean, people just let their dog out in the yard and think they’re OK, and some people are coming up and opening gates and fences and letting them out and taking them,” Switzer said. “And once they’re gone, it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack to find a dog like that.”


Switzer says some people are worried there’s a dog fighting ring, which could explain why there have been so many dog thefts.


KTVA reached out to Alaska State Troopers late Thursday evening to find out if they’ve had any reports of a possible dog ring. In an email Friday morning, spokesperson Megan Peters said troopers in the Valley are not aware of any dog fighting in the area.


KTVA 11's Daniella Rivera can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.