Miracle as dog owner catches thief red-handed walking his stolen spaniel

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A dog has been reunited with his owner after he was stolen in Plymouth last Friday. Distraught owners Declan Leyland-Lacey and Jenny last saw their Spaniel, Harry, when Jenny walked him to Boots and tied him up outside. When Jenny returned moments later, three-year-old Harry was gone. In a stroke of luck, Declan was driving on Sunday night and spotted Harry being walked by a stranger near a park.

Declan said: “I was driving at night around the parks, probably looking a little suspicious myself when I saw what looked like Harry with a bloke by Devonport Park.

“I slowed down to a crawl, pulled the window down and called Harry and he looked at me, so I just stopped in the road and jumped out. The man let go.

“He kind of pretended he had found him. When I started to question his story he pegged it up the road.

“Then I just kind of stood shaking and holding the dog in the road, chances of that must be a 1,000 to one.

“Dog is okay, just tired and hungry much like me.”

Declan added that he is providing police with a description of the man for further investigation.

Dog theft has rocketed due to the rise in demand for puppies during the pandemic. Blue Cross estimates that seven dogs were stolen each day in 2020, a 170 percent increase from 2019.

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The charity has outlined some ways owners can protect your dog from theft:

· Never leave your dog tied up outside or alone in a car or garden.

· Make sure your dog is microchipped and contact details are up-to-date.

· Your dog should always wear a collar and ID tag with your name and address on it.

· Do not put your dog’s name on their collar, harness or ID tag.

· Take photos with your dog to help to prove ownership if needed.

· Make a note of any distinguishing features.

· Avoid putting too much information about your dog on social media.

If your dog is stolen, call 999 and report it as a theft rather than a lost animal. You must also report the theft to the microchip database, this will ensure that if anyone tries to re-register the chip number, you will be informed.

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