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      Stolen pit bull feared to be used for dog fighting

      The president of the Florence Area Humane Society, Jayne Boswell, says whoever cut a hole through a fence at the animal shelter on McCurdy Road in Florence County Sunday night or early Monday morning knew what they were doing and what they wanted.

      "They knew where things were located and which animals were in which kennels," said Boswell.

      All of the dogs were out of their kennels when employees got to work Monday.

      They could account for all of the animals except Harriet, a dark-brown, 2-year-old pit bull who has tugged at the hearts of shelter workers.

      "She came out of her shell, became trusting of shelter staff here. We enjoyed taking care of her. Didn't have any trouble at all," said Wendy Wilton, Shelter Manager.

      "We're very concerned about what happened to her and it hurts our hearts," Boswell said.

      They think whoever took Harriet wanted her for dog fighting, and that's what scares them the most.

      "I think we all know that dog fighting is very much alive in our community, either neighboring or in our state. It may have gone underground for a little bit but obviously there's a market for these dogs," explained Boswell.

      The shelter just opened in February and plans to increase security with surveillance cameras after what happened to Harriet.

      In the meantime, employees hope that Harriet is found safe.

      "Someone knows what's happened to Harriet, and we're just hoping out of the kindness of their heart they'll let us know," said Boswell.

      The shelter has a strict adoption policy for its pit bulls, and that's why employees think Harriet was a target.

      "They have to do an interview in order to adopt so that does deter some adoptions," explained Boswell. "So, I thinks it's much easier for them to steal them than to come in and actally adopt. We're very particular about who gets to take a pit bull home with them simply because of the worry that these animals maybe used inappropriately or inhumanly."

      The Florence County Sheriff's Office is investigating the burglary and theft of the animal. You can call investigators at (843) 665-2121 with infomration. You're also asked to call the animal shelter at (843) 629-5456 with any information on Harriet's whereabouts.

      A group of concerned citizens is now offering $1,000 for the safe return and conviction of the person who took Harriet.