A spate of local pet thefts has some dog owners on edge and others fearing that a criminal ring may be at work.

At least five area dog-napping incidents have pet owners on alert. Erika McNevin was one of the lucky ones, after her black and white Great Dane Remington was returned to her following a message from a family in Belleville.

McNevin had plastered Kemptville with posters and contacted every Humane Society nearby after Remington went missing from her property three months ago.

But word finally came when someone contacted her, explaining that Remington was in Belleville.

"You have no idea the loss," McNevin said, after being reunited with Remington. "To me, it's like a child missing."

Dog lured into black sedan

The family that purchased McNevin's long-lost friend said they bought the animal from a man on the free classifieds website Kijiji.com, but noticed afterwards it resembled the missing pet on McNevin's flyers.

"I'm amazed. I almost didn't believe it until I saw him," McNevin said. "You don't think you're going to find them alive."

Four other families have also told CBC News Ottawa that their purebred dogs were stolen from their backyards.

Although police say they are not investigating any sort of dog-theft ring, some dog owners suspect a criminal network targeting animals is operating in the Ottawa area.

Sylvie Blais said her dog, Charlie, was lured into a black sedan three years ago. She found him through a flyer advertising "rescued dogs."

"I don't think they're isolated. I think they're connected," Blais said. "People don't just go and steal a dog. You'd have to have no heart."