Dog Owner Warns Of 'Puppy Snatchers' After Attempts Made To Steal Pets On Walks
Angie Partridge, from Grimsby, was walking her young cavapoo Mabel and older dog Stanley down a cycle path near her home when the incident took place.
Speaking to Grimsby Telegraph about the ordeal, she explained she was approached by a cyclist who began asking detailed questions about Mabel, including her age, breed and name.
"Both my dogs are red Cavapoos, which are quite popular at the moment, and Mabel is only six months old. We had paid £1,000 for her in January but they can go for as much as £4,000.
"He started asking about Mabel - her name, her breed and how old she was," the owner explained, while she noted the cyclist took no interest in her older dog.
Things then took a sinister turn when the man on the bike cycled a short distance further before calling for Mabel to come to him.
"He put his arm down to pick up her up, but in the split second I knew I had to call her back," she said.
"Luckily, she is quite timid and came back to me straight away. The man biked off without saying anything else.
"Everything happened quickly but when I told people about it later, they said they'd heard about lots of dog thefts recently. Now I'm 99 per cent sure the man was trying to steal Mabel."
Angie says she believes Mabel would have been taken to be used as a "breeding machine".
"Young female dogs like her are sometimes taken and used as breeding machines to produce more puppies," she said.
"It's really quite sad, and I would have been devastated if anything had happened to her. I won't be letting her walk off the lead for a long time."
Sadly, Angie's close call doesn't appear to be an isolated incident with Grimsby-based dog trainers Little Tykes Dog Hub saying there have been "several reports" of attempted dog theft of late.
They warned on Facebook: "People approaching you and your dog or puppy and asking you your dog's name, age, breed and sometimes how much the breed cost to buy are most likely trying to target you.
"Young, un-neutered dogs from six months to one year are most at risk of been taken for breeding.
"Those people will try and get your dog away from you using their name and treats, even if it is on a lead. A snap collar, harness or lead clip is very easy to unsnap and if the person is on a bike or in a car a dog can be gone in seconds.
"If you meet people that stop you and start asking questions specifically about your dog be aware, and if necessary move away."
This is certainly one to be aware of if you own a pooch.
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