By Jason A. Smith
Local authorities are investigating the latest in a series of thefts, which have left several area residents without their prized pets.
At least two Yorkshire Terriers have been reported as stolen from their owners' homes in Henry County in recent weeks.
The most recent incident allegedly took place Monday at 953 McCullough Rd., in Hampton.
Gary Lee, 53, lives at the house and said he saw his 10-year-old dog, Buffy, taken from his yard at approximately 1:30 p.m. Lee, who is disabled and uses a scooter to move around his home, said the episode began when Buffy came to him and wanted to go outside.
"I let her out the door to the front yard," recalled Lee. "I immediately rolled back to the window to watch, and I saw a small, blue SUV in the driveway. I saw two young ... girls run out of the neighbor's yard to the [vehicle]. I thought they might have just been getting a ride, but one of them opened the door to the SUV, and when she turned to get in, I saw my dog in her right arm."
Lee attempted to make contact with the unknown culprits, but was unable to do so before the SUV left the scene. He then called Henry County Police, and reported the incident.
Lee's wife, Kathrine Osborne-Lee, said she is distraught over the loss of her pet, who normally keeps her husband company while she is at work. Still, Osborne-Lee said that she does not want to press charges against the people who took Buffy.
"We just want our dog back," she said. "She's my husband's companion, and my little girl."
According to a Henry County Police report, the dog theft has been turned over to the agency's Criminal Investigations Division.
The owner of another Yorkie said she is able to sympathize with the Lees, because her dog has been missing since last month. Karen Hall, of McDonough, began searching for her dog, seven-year-old Oliver, after he disappeared from her home Oct. 22.
"I realized he was missing when I came home," she said. "I talked to a couple of teenage boys in a nearby neighborhood, and they said they saw a ... lady in a white van get him from our yard. We don't know if this person was combing the area to find a dog or what."
Hall said she is "heartbroken" by the theft of her dog, but remained hopeful he would be found soon. She said local authorities have pledged to have calls forwarded to her, from residents who report seeing Oliver.