A social media network for dog lovers based in Levin is on high alert after fielding no less than 17 different emails from people concerned for the safety of their pets.
Levin Doggy Dayz moderator Angela Ripikoi said the number of emails in the last few weeks heightened concerns there were scouts looking for dogs to be used as "bait" to train fighting dogs.
Ripikoi said people should be vigilant and watch out for their dogs.
"This isn't scaremongering. If people come to me, I have to pass it on," she said.
"This needs to be shared. The amount of emails we've had is concerning, reporting of people coming to the gate and taking photos and leaving chalk marks on the fence.
"The worst fear is that they are being targeting for bait."
Ripikoi said there had been several abduction attempts, with no specific breed targeted, and she was urging dog owners to not let their pet out of sight.
"Please be aware and vigilant. If we all keep an eye out on each other's dogs we will make it harder for these people to be successful," she said.
"Double check your gates are locked and don't be afraid to leave outside lights on at night, light up your street," she said.
"If you let your dog out, let it be in the backyard if possible and check on them regularly. For those who use their front yard, go out with your dog if it's just a toilet time.
"Teach your dog not to take food from strangers, in some cases female dogs in heat have been used to lure unneutered dogs off the property, with great success."
Ripikoi said people should take note of strange cars or people strange to the neighbourhood.
"If you get the sense something is off, take a picture or video or write down the date, time and registration and description of people ..."
Ripikoi said if a dog was lost or missing it could be shared on the Levin Doggy Dayz visitors page, or they could message the page for assistance.