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“I even went to the tent city (a homeless camp at Strathcona Park, across the street from the garden), thinking she might hear me and yip or scrabble on the side of a tent,” she said.

“I think she was taken and sold somewhere.”

Roz Bell holds a photo of her missing dog Bailey on Dec. 1, 2020. She believes her dog was stolen while they were walking in Strathcona Community Garden in July and is pleading for the YorkiePoo's return. Trax aSsignment ID# 00063179A For Susan Lazaruk story. Credit: Mike Bell/PNG [PNG Merlin Archive]
Roz Bell holds a photo of her missing dog Bailey on Dec. 1, 2020. Photo by Mike Bell /PNG

In the four-and-a-half months since, Bell has put up dozens of posters, posted ads online and in papers, checked lost dog websites, written letters to vets and to DTES housing societies, contacted pet searchers, and filed a police report. She followed up tips, including one that reported someone selling a dog at Victory Square, and another who said Bailey might be in Kamloops.

Bell, who had never been to the Downtown Eastside before, pursued one tip to a SRO building that the tipster warned her was a drug house. Her worry over that caused her heart to palpitate and her blood pressure to shoot up, and she ended up in emergency.

Bell’s friends and even strangers kicked in for the reward offer, which she said was up to $2,000.

“I’ve been trying to do everything I can and there’s been nothing,” she said.

It’s not known how common dog theft is. “Under the law, animals are considered property (unfortunately), so it is considered property theft,” said spokeswoman Lorie Chortyk of the Vancouver branch of the SPCA in an email.

Vancouver police spokeswoman Const. Tania Visintin said in an email, “I did another check not too long ago for another news outlet wondering the same and we had not had any dog thefts recently.”

Someone suggested Bailey could have been snatched by a coyote or an eagle, or because she is 14 years old, wandered away to be alone so she could die. But Bell rejects those theories and believes Bailey is still alive.

She hopes anyone who has seen or has the dog will see this story.

Taking the dog out for walks two or three times a day gave her exercise and purpose. “I’ve lost that. I’m shut in now.”

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