03/01/2015 04:40 EST | Updated 05/01/2015 05:59 EDT

Dog theft spike in North Peace prompts warning from SPCA

The SPCA in the North Peace is warning dog owners about a recent spike in missing dogs — many of which they worry may have been stolen.

"We have noticed a definite increase in missing dogs and unfortunately we've had multiple people come forward and report actual thefts happening — they've actually caught the tail end of it," Candice Buchamer, the branch manager of the North Peace SPCA told Daybreak North.

Buchamer said dog owners should keep their dogs inside a locked house or garage, tethered in the yard overnight, or in an unlocked vehicle.

"We actually had one report of a dog being thefted right out of the unlocked garage attached to the house, so they're very brazen people," she said.

Buchamer is trying to pull together numbers to get a sense of how many dogs have gone missing recently compared to past years.

She said just under 100 dogs, that have still not been found, went missing in 2014.

This year, said Buchamer, at least five dogs are believed to have been stolen. She said larger breeds, including German shepherds, Rottweilers, Dobermans, Great Pyrenees​ and pit bull breeds, are more likely to be targeted.

Dog owner wants better investigation

On Feb. 21, Brad Tanner's dog Choco disappeared from his yard near Cecil Lake, B.C. and he told Daybreak North he believes the dog was stolen.

"When we start looking at the number of dogs that are going missing something is going on. At the end of the day, that's what we need to figure out, is where are our family members going," he said.

Tanner worries his dog may have been stolen for illegal dog fighting — something the RCMP told the CBC it is not investigating and which the SPCA said it has not been able to substantiate with evidence.

"I want to see everybody come forward and submit their reports to the RCMP and I want to see the RCMP start taking this stuff serious," said Tanner.

"We're not going to stop until we find out where our family members are going."

The North District RCMP told the CBC it doesn't get involved in missing dog cases, but will investigate when it has witness reports of the dog being stolen.

To hear the full interview with Brad Tanner, click the audio labelled: Dog owner wants answers after dog disappeared.