HAVING her beloved purebred staffy puppy Devlin stolen was hard enough for Kristy Hudson.
But finding it mauled to death in the front yard of her family's Bouldercombe home only days later was much worse.
Kristy's friend, Katrina Coulson, who owns Devlin's purebred parents, said Kristy and her children were devastated.
Speaking on behalf of Kristy, Katrina said she and her friend were struggling to understand what happened to the pup.
Katrina said her friend locked Devlin in a dog run with a quiet female puppy at the back of her home before going to the shop for 20 minutes.
But when she returned the gate was wide open, Devlin was gone, and the other puppy was cowering at the back of the cage.
A couple of days later Kristy found the two-month-old mauled to death.
"He was her world ... and she had the misfortune of finding his little body," Katrina said.
She said Kristy's neighbours saw nothing because she lived on 40 acres and the dogs could not be seen from the road.
Along with several other people, Katrina said she had heard rumours of a dog fighting ring in the area.
"We're not 100% certain... whether they used him as bait, to teach other dogs to fight," Katrina said through her tears.
"There has been a lot of stealing of dogs around the Rockhampton area."
Katrina shows dogs, including Devlin's father, who beat 200 dogs in a Victorian dog show last year.
"They are like our kids."
Katrina encouraged anyone who knew anything about any dog fighting rings to contact the RSPCA, and to always report dogs which go missing or were stolen.
"I don't want anyone else to lose a puppy the way my friend and I have," she said.
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