By: Julia Deng
ODESSA - Two unidentified men are releasing dogs from backyard enclosures throughout Odessa, according to a Rowland Drive resident whose 18-month-old Great Dane, "Big Boy," was targeted Tuesday night.
"My neighbor called me when I was on my way home from work, telling me there were two black males jumping on my back fence and letting Big Boy out of the yard," said Jeremy Britton, who lives with his wife, children and three dogs.
The two men, reportedly driving a white Lexus or BMW sedan, were seen following Britton's pup down an alley near the family's home.
"After they saw that my neighbor had seen them, they took off... and we managed to get my dog home safely," he said. "But it was scary. They were breaking through our back gate while my wife was in the house."
Britton did not file a police report, but told NewsWest 9 the two men had targeted multiple dogs in his neighborhood Tuesday and Wednesday.
"And a couple blocks down on Sunset, there was a lady [whose] dog was let out the same way a few days ago," he said.
It reportedly took her more than eight hours to locate her dog after the two men fled their neighborhood.
She was not available for comment.
NewsWest 9 reported on another suspected dog theft in December, when Odessa resident Tammy Cryer's dog was released from his backyard enclosure and doused in flammable chemicals.
"He knew to come back home, and we found him on the porch later that night, soaked in some kind of oily chemical," said Cryer. "Someone poured it all over him and then set him on fire."
The Border Collie, named "Hershey," suffered second- and third-degree burns on a large portion of his body.
However, neither Cryer nor Britton filed animal cruelty or dog theft reports with the Odessa Police Department.
"I'm not sure I can do much about this by [filing a police report]," said Britton. "I'm more concerned with adding locks on my back fence right now to keep my family and pets safe."
Odessa Police spokesman Cpl. Steve LeSueur said animal cruelty cases are rarely brought to their attention.
"Maybe a few are reported to us each year," he told NewsWest 9. "But if a crime has been committed, whether property has been stolen or a pet has been stolen, they need to report it to police. Otherwise, there's not a whole lot that we can do."
Anybody with information about the individuals suspected of releasing, stealing or abusing dogs in Odessa can contact CrimeStoppers at (432) 333-TIPS.