Appeal to find two stolen dogs in Leeds as owners receive 'vile' hoax calls threatening to kill the pets

Hoax callers threatening to kill beloved pets have targeted the distraught owners of missing dogs, an animal charity has revealed

By Rebecca Marano
Monday, 3rd January 2022, 4:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 2:08 pm

Alison Bell, who runs Leeds-based charity, Animal Aid UK, said the cruel hoax calls came after two families launched a desperate appeal to find the two much-loved family dogs.

Diesel, a 12-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrior, went missing after escaping from his garden in Stanks Gardens, Swarcliffe, on December 16, 2021.

The missing dog suffers chronic arthritis and is without his medication so he will be in pain.

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The families of Diesel (left) and Apollo (right) are desperate to find their pets and bring them home. The dogs have both been missing since December 2020. Sadly, the families have received hoax calls from people taking advantage of their appeals for help.

He is described as brindle in colour, with a white chest and white on his paws and was wearing a cream collar. He is microchipped.

Owner Samantha Burdekin said: "I am starting to believe that my dog has been stolen.

"I have printed posters and put them sound my local estate as well as within the LS14 postcode. The majority of the posters have been removed by youths or the people that may have stolen him.

"I have also posted leaflets through letter boxes urging people to please help me find my dog or if they have him to hand him back.

Diesel, a 12-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier, has been missing since December 16 from Stanks Gardens. He has arthritis and is without his medication so will be in pain. Photo: Animal Aid UK charity.

She added: "He isn't just a dog to me, he's family! And all I want is my family member back.

"I have an eight-year-old son who has grown up with this dog since birth, and his is absolutely heartbroken.

Sadly, there have been no further sightings of him and he is presumed stolen, the charity said.

The charity is also appealing for help to find missing Apollo from Methley.

Apollo, a black and tan German Shepherd has been missing from his home in Methley since December 19, 2020. Photo: Find Apollo group on Facebook.

Apollo, a male black and tan German Shepherd, has been missing from the Low Common/Pinfold Lane area since Sunday, December 19.

He is micropchipped and was last seen wearing a black and white collar tag with contact details.

He was last seen in the Barnsdale Lane area on December 20, 2021.

Alison, who is, the founder and trustee of Animal Age UK, which now has volunteers across the country, said: "Apollo went missing just over two weeks ago.

"There were a few sightings of him on the day that he went missing but there's been no sightings whatsoever since."

Despite appeals, neither Apollo or Diesel have been found, and both families have been subject to cruel hoax calls.

Alison said: "It's heartbreaking. It really is.

"One of the owner has had hoax phone calls and one began texting her and the stuff he was saying was really, really nasty, things like that he'll cut [the dog's] throat.

"Another had one off off a man demanding £500.

"I always tell the owners, if anybody rings you asking for money, just say ;send me a photo of my dog and we'll talk money'

"If they can't send you a photo they don't have the dog they're just trying to get money

"They know the owner's are vulnerable and will just pay the money not even thinking they might not have the dog. This happens a lot.

"They are vile, vile people."

Ms Bell said that police have been made aware of the hoax phone calls.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Diesel is asked to contact 07983 703 106.

Anyone with information regarding Apollo is asked to call 07806803047 or 07950565547. There is a reward for any information that leads to him safely returning home.

The Find Diesel and Find Apollo groups can be found on Facebook.

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