By Khiara Elliott
Police are searching for two women who stole a Chihuahua from a Melbourne Central pet store on April 15, but was it actually a rescue mission?
The two women, believed to be between 18 and 21 entered the store and spent about 30 minutes there, before leaving with a 12-week-old Chihuahua hidden in one of their jackets.
But is this a case of a modern-day Robin Hood, rescuing the puppy from poor living conditions?
Multiple petitions advocating the closure of the store alleging animal mistreatment are circulating online. Some date as far back as 2015.
The Melbourne Central Facebook page is also flooded with comments urging management to close the store.
In response, Melbourne Central management posted a statement as recently as March 18 that said it was working with the RSPCA and City of Melbourne to ensure the store was “operating in line with the laws and standards around the sale of pets in Victoria”.
The statement said a vet had visited the store as a part of management’s response strategy.
Facebook users and petitioners complained of the animals having eye infections, looking malnourished and being held in cages far too small with empty food and water bowls.
Melbourne East police sergeant Mat Vernon wouldn’t comment on whether or not the robbery was in reality, a rescue.
Sgt Vernon told CBD News that police were considering all possible information however could not comment either way.
An employee of the store, Jeremy Hon, has slammed the complaints, saying they were are all false. He also denied that store sourced puppies from illegal puppy farms.
Mr Hon also said that the two women were regular customers of the store and were able to get away while he was attending to another customer.
What do you think, dog-napping or rescue mission? Let us know at [email protected]