Warnings circulating on social media sites about an underground dog-fighting ring in Perth are believed to be a hoax.
Posts about the dog-fighting ring have appeared on websites such as Facebook, Gumtree and Google+ in the past two weeks WA Today reports.
They warned that pets are being stolen from properties to be used in the fights.
"There is currently an organised dog fighting ring in Perth," read one post.
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"Stealing dogs from backyards north and south of the river!! Free dogs will be taken by them!!
"They are also stealing and collecting free cats, guinea pigs and rabbits to use as bait to entice fighting!"
But RSPCA spokesman Tim Mayne told WA Today the warnings were a "viral hoax."
"Police and the RSPCA have no solid evidence on this at all," he said.
A post shared on Facebook warned that red squares were being put on people's properties to flag prospective animals for the ring.
"These red symbols are tags that people stealing Perth dogs are putting on your gates/fences," the post read.
"These tags identify which house has a dog that needs to be collected later that day/night by these disgusting creatures."
Curtin University internet studies lecturer Tama Leaver told WA Today the messages were scant on detail and showed obvious signs of being a hoax.
"If people were really trying to stop something there would be specific details about it and who they could contact," he said.
"If something like that is appearing for two weeks and there's no official information released whatsoever – there's no police follow up – and there's no evidence of an actual fight, you'd have to question it."
Source: WA Today
Author: Sylvia Varnham O'Regan, Approving editor: Mark Worley