The desperate family of a two-year-old husky which has been missing from their Mangere home since Wednesday fear it may have been stolen or even eaten after occupants of a red van were spotted acting suspiciously near their property.
Abeer Ali Syed, his parents and 16-year-old sister have been traipsing the streets and handing out flyers every day since Milo disappeared four days ago and have even offered a reward for anyone who has any information leading to his whereabouts.
Milo, a brown and white Siberian husky with one green and one blue eye, went missing from Rock Daisy Crescent in Mangere on Wednesday between 2pm and 3pm. He also has a distinctive brown patch on his tail.
Milo was a birthday present for Syed's sister, Anaum, on her 14th birthday and she has not slept or eaten since her dog disappeared.
"It's affected her the most ... We were all really attached to him," Syed said.
Syed was the first to notice Milo had disappeared when he returned home at 3pm on Wednesday and he immediately started knocking on neighbours' doors and searching nearby streets.
There was a hole under the gate indicating a spot where Milo may have dug through the mud and escaped, but the family's suspicions were raised when a neighbour said she had seen Milo at the end of their long driveway at 4pm barking at a red, carpet cleaning van.
The neighbour said the husky was barking at the van and the people in it were trying to beckon him in. The family had been out searching for Milo at the time.
Later that afternoon the neighbour found out the address for the carpet cleaning company and travelled 15 minutes away to the house on Mangere Rd. The house was deserted, but she saw Milo's collar and a feeding bowl there.
However, when the Syed returned later that afternoon there was no sign of Milo's brown collar and the house looked abandoned.
"We are very certain he has been stolen because our neighbours had told us that day there was a suspicious red van parked at the end of the driveway looking at Milo ..."
The family has also contacted the SPCA and animal control, which had not collected Milo.
"That's why we've got the police involved as something just does not seem right.
"Yesterday my parents went into the police station to ask them to at least go in and talk to our neighbours to see what is going on, but they said they don't have anyone who can take this at the moment and as soon as they do have someone they can send someone through.
"But in the process we just don't want our dog to end up in someone's dinner."