THE chalk marks on the pavement and the detached leg said it all.
Zoe the Zebra, the statue that lived outside the Family Dental Yamba Practice, was missing and presumed dead.
The culprits behind last week's callous kidnapping have been identified but Zoe has not been seen since she was sighted at a nearby lake.
Practice manager Dwarne McPhee said Zoe is thought to be "swimming with the fishes".
"We did have a few locals offer to go snorkelling for her but as she was missing a leg we didn't think she'd be ready to go back on duty," he said.
All jokes aside, Mr McPhee said the zebra was an important tool to break down the fear barrier for kids coming in for dental treatment.
"A lot of locals were just devastated to hear she was missing as we do have a substantial paediatric base," he said.
"They get a photo with Zoe and it already breaks down the fear barrier. It seems like a bit of harmless fun to take her but they ruined something that made it easier for the kids to come to the dentist. Now we've got to redo it all again."
Thankfully, a replacement for Zoe has been found by the owners and is expected to be installed this week.
As part of their punishment, Zoe's kidnappers have been asked to help paint the new zebra.
It just needs a name. To submit your choice, visit the Family Dental Yamba Facebook page.