IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - Dog owners are on alert after several reports of suspected dognappings in the Idaho Falls area.
Idaho Falls Crimestoppers has received four reports of possible dognappings, all of which occurred sometime on Easter Sunday.
"It makes me sad to think that somebody would do that," said dog owner Jessica Deets.
The Bonneville County Sheriff's Office said a Yorkshire terrier was taken from a yard on 1st Street in Idaho Falls in broad daylight Sunday.
"This person actually saw a female subject in a blue pickup enter her yard and take her dog," said Lt. James Foster, with the Sheriff's Office.
That same day, a shih tzu disappeared from Esquire Acres Park. Foster said witnesses told the dog's owner, "I saw a woman in a truck pick up your dog and take it."
Another shih tzu vanished that day near Osgood, and a black chihuahua disappeared near Yellowstone Highway and Sunnyside Road.
"I don't know what they would want with somebody else's dog," said Deets.
Police say they have a pretty good idea – someone's getting big bucks for little barks.
"I call these money dogs," said Foster, referring to small dog breeds. "Money dogs are the ones that are gonna be taken so they can make a quick buck, selling them on Craigslist and the classified ads."
Foster said bigger dogs are sometimes taken by dogfighters, but said he didn't think that was a factor in the recent string of dog disappearances.
"I personally don't suspect that someone's gonna take a small, 6-week-old yorkie or a smaller shih tzu type dog to use it for a bait dog. That doesn't really make a lot of sense to me," said Foster.
Deetz, who routinely lets her pooch out to play, said she'll be taking precautions from now on.
"Haven't felt unsafe about it, but now I'll probably make more of a point to stay outside with him," said Deetz.
The Idaho Falls Animal Shelter said one of the best things dog owners can do is to put tags on their pets and get them microchipped.
Police say if you suspect your dog's been stolen, you should file a police report. Foster also suggests visiting the shelter to see if your dog's been brought in.