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Dog owners concerned after several German Shepherds go missing between Dillon and Whitehall

Posted at 6:53 AM, Apr 30, 2024

SHERIDAN — It’s not unusual for dogs to go missing in rural Montana, but when a Facebook group noticed several German Shepherds missing around the same time between Dillon and Whitehall, dog owners became concerned something more nefarious may be going on.

“My mind has been going all over. I’ve gone from positive scenarios to really awful negative scenarios,” said Sheridan resident Lindsay Bodda.

Lindsay's one-year-old German Shepherd mix went missing in February. They live in a very rural area outside of Sheridan and let their dog roam, but he always returns home. When Yeti didn’t come back, she thought maybe a wild animal got it. But then she found a Facebook site where many others also experienced shepherd breeds going missing.

“It kind of leads me to believe there’s some kind of underground dog ring going on or is someone stealing them and reselling them,” said Bodda.

Ryan Layne, who breeds German Shepherds in Whitehall, agrees with Lindsay after two of his dogs were taken the afternoon of April 9.

“It was almost like somebody was watching us and waiting for us to leave,” said Layne. “The main male taken, he was a $4,000 dog, so, I mean, they kind of definitely knew what they were doing.”

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s office told KXLF they have not seen a rash of stolen dog reports but recommend dog owners get a microchip monitor for their pets to make it easier to track them.

“We want to bring awareness of this possibility of someone going around stealing dogs, you know, so people are aware and watching their dogs,” said Layne.

Lindsay said it's heartbreaking not knowing what became of their dog, Yeti.

“Every time we pull up to the house we are expecting him to run out on the road and greet us like he always did and there’s just a hole in our hearts because we don’t get that anymore,” said Bodda.