Who let the dogs out? That's the question some residents in East Orange are pondering after several people have come forward expressing concern at finding their dogs out of secure backyards.
Rachel Rae is one of several dog owners who has found out their prized pooches have been getting out.
"A neighbour from a couple of houses ago came up to us and said 'I've seen your dogs out a few times' and I had no idea, didn't know they've been getting out," she said.
"She'd seen kids in the neighbourhood playing with them in the street and saw they'd put them back.
"She'd seen them out a few times, but didn't know if they'd been letting them out or they'd got out."
The neighbour told Ms Rae the children were known to her.
"She said she'd had issues with them letting her dogs out a year or two ago, that was why she'd mentioned it to us," she said.
Her two dogs Lucky and Reggie were both rescue dogs and are both friendly, and she said she hadn't noticed anything was amiss until her neighbour mentioned it.
"We had no idea they'd been getting out because they were always back behind the gate by the time we got home," Ms Rae said.
"My sister came home a few weeks ago and Reggie had blood on him so we thought they may have got into a fight with each other but maybe we're wondering if they got into a fight with someone else while they were out walking."
She said the dogs running into other dogs or potentially being hit by a car was the "main concern".
"I know these two are nice and not aggressive but if they bump into another dog who is maybe they'd fight back, I don't know," she said.
Ms Rae put up a Facebook post about it, and was amazed by the response of people in the East Orange area who said they'd noticed their dogs out of secure backyards without any explanation.
"There were quite a few people, especially in this area, who had the same thing - not necessarily that kids were letting them out but their dogs were getting out and they didn't know why," she said.
"We've got our thing on the lock now, it's obviously not a proper lock but it's difficult to get off so hopefully the kids - if it is them - they're probably not going to put the effort into letting them back out."
Central West Police District Acting Inspector Brian Duffy said police hadn't been made aware of any instances of dogs being let out of yards but urged people to come forward if they had.
"It's up to animal owners to make sure their yards are secure and safe, but if they find someone's been entering their property or tampering with it we encourage people to tell us," he said.
"If the community doesn't come forward and let us know it's happening then we don't know.
"If someone's obtained access come in and see us or call in."
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