Cambridge widow’s joy at return of stolen dog
A widow whose three dogs were stolen earlier this month has told of her delight and relief after the return of one of her pets.
Mary Goldsmith, 73, from Cambridge, was reunited with Alice, the schnauzer cross Chihuahua, after the pet was found in a bush in Sandy, Bedfordshire, by a dog walker.
However, her two other dogs, a Jack Russell cross Chihuahua, named Holly, and a pedigree West Highland terrier, called Grace, remain missing at this time.
Police are urging dog owners to be vigilant following a rise in dog thefts. Over recent months the country has seen dog prices significantly increase, prompting concerns around a rise in theft.
Mary said: “She was found in Sandy by a lady who was walking her dogs and took her to the vets. They checked her chip and found out she was a missing dog. I was staying with my goddaughter when I got the phone call and I was delighted. It was fantastic to see her again. We had a few tears but she was just so happy to be back. I am back home now and I’m trying to get on with my life but I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that someone will find the other two dogs. It’s wonderful to have her back, she’s my little baby.
“I know I have got one back and I should be grateful for that but I do miss them. Alice has been walking around looking for the other dogs, but she is settling back in well and she is a happy little dog.
“When she came back she was missing a couple of teeth and they had cut the hair around her face to make her look more like a Chihuahua. I think they must have realised she wasn’t a full Chihuahua and so it wasn’t worth breeding from her and maybe that’s why they left her.
“I understand that with Grace being a pedigree Westie they might want to breed from her. I think people always want those kinds of dogs so I just hope the people who have her are good to her. There have been sightings of a Westie in Norfolk and Lincolnshire but those have come to nothing.
“Holly is a Jack Russell cross Chihuahua who is coming up for 12, she has a few health issues and she’s an old girl so I’m very much hoping they won’t try to breed from her. All the vets are on alert for the stolen dogs so if anyone finds them I would urge them to take them to a vet who will be able to identify them.”
Mary, from Cambridge, had left her three dogs, Grace, Holly and Alice, overnight at Cosy Kennels, Cambridge Road, in Stretham so she could visit her goddaughter.But thieves broke in on Sunday July 12 and took them all.
Dogs have also been reported stolen from Bluntisham, Peterborough, Horningsea, Stow Cum Quy and Wilburton and an attempted theft in Haddenham.
And last week a family of cocker spaniel puppies were stolen from a caravan in Cottenham during the latest in a series of dog thefts to hit Cambridgeshire.
Thieves broke into the caravan in Setchell Drove between 1.30pm and 2.30pm on Wednesday (July 22) and took the litter of seven puppies, valued at up to £2,000 each, and their mother.
Detective Inspector Chris O’Brien said: “Dogs are often part of the family and every theft is absolutely devastating for owners.
“With more people working from home and finding themselves with extra time, the demand for dogs has soared across the country.
“However, this has in turn resulted in huge increases in prices which has sadly led to criminals taking advantage of the situation by stealing dogs in an attempt to sell them on at a high price.”
It is thought the figure could be much higher with victims using lost dog websites to find their pets instead of reporting the thefts to police.
DI O’Brien added: “I would urge all owners to report stolen dogs to us. On some occasions we have found the dogs and been able to reunite them with their owners.
“Also take extra precautions to help deter thieves and protect your pets.”
Dog owners are advised to:
- Keep an ID tag on your dog at all times
- Lock gates using bolts at the top and bottom, along with a heavy-duty padlock.
- Ensure there are no places where dogs or other animals can escape or be pulled through, if they are left in a back garden.
- Never leave your pet in the garden unattended
- Fit a bell or gate alarm so it makes a sound when someone opens it
- Purchase a driveway alarm so you are alerted to any visitors, these can also be used in rear gardens
- Make sure your dog is microchipped and their details are updated so that they can be returned if they are stolen and subsequently found.
- Avoid leaving a dog tied up outside a shop or left alone in a car, even for a few minutes
- Take lots of photographs of your dog to prove ownership if it’s stolen and then found.
- Report dog theft to police straight away.
Anyone with information about a stolen dog, or suspicious behaviour, can report it to police on 101 or online at cambs.police.uk/report.
If your dog is stolen then it’s vital to report it to police but also consider:
Reporting the theft to your local authority dog warden and notify your microchip database provider.
Reporting the theft to www.doglost.co.uk or their Facebook page as they coordinate thefts for each county and offer advice and support.
More by this authorAlex Spencer
This website and its associated newspaper are members of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO)