Family fears puppy has been stolen

A COUPLE whose Springer Spaniel puppy vanished from their garden fear she may have been stolen and sold on for cash.Volunteers working to trace lost dogs believe Russell and Sharon Delaney, from Ashbocking, near Ipswich, have fallen victim to a growing trend of thieves stealing pets to sell on for up to £200.

By John Howard

A COUPLE whose Springer Spaniel puppy vanished from their garden fear she may have been stolen and sold on for cash.

Volunteers working to trace lost dogs believe Russell and Sharon Delaney, from Ashbocking, near Ipswich, have fallen victim to a growing trend of thieves stealing pets to sell on for up to £200.

Now, as the hot weather finally arrives and more people and their dogs are spending time in the garden, owners have been warned to be alert.


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Mr Delaney, who had only returned from honeymoon for a few days when their puppy Lola disappeared at 7pm on July 6, said: “We live on the main road through Ashbocking, which is a rural area, but the highway is used by people commuting to and from Woodbridge.

“Lola was in the garden and I could see her from the utility room. She went out of sight and I immediately ran out into the garden and she was gone.

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“We searched the garden and around the house before scouring the streets and she was nowhere to be seen. She never strayed and could not have travelled that far on her own in two minutes. The only conclusion is she was picked up and taken away by someone in a car.

“Anyone who owns a dog can imagine the despair and worry we are feeling right now. It is like losing a family member.”

The couple have now saved for a cash reward that is being offered for the safe return of black and white Lola, who was wearing a red collar when she went missing, and was their 14-year-old daughter Jasmin's pet.

Jayne Hayes, founder of the voluntary organisation doglost.co.uk, said dog theft was a major problem with pets being sold up for up to £200 a time.

She added: “This is heartbreaking. Of course there is a chance a well-meaning motorist stopped and picked her up because she had strayed near the road.

“But the theft of dogs from their families is one of the fastest-growing crime trends in the country and we are receiving at least one report a day of it. It has to stop.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Constabulary said: “Last year there were 20 reported dog thefts countywide. This year so far there have been six reports across Suffolk, so these figures indicate is it not a significant problem here.

“However it is possible that the numbers are actually higher if they aren't being reported to us. We would urge any victim of crime or anyone with information about an offence to contact us.”

N The family are offering a cash reward and if you can help trace Lola call 01473 785435. For more information on crime prevention, or to visit Lola's page at www.doglost.co.uk

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