A distraught dog owner is turning to YEP readers for help after her pet chihuahua was snatched from the garden of her home in Leeds.
Jo Cooper has plastered the Swarcliffe area with posters, made appeals online and put in calls to the dog warden, kennels, vets and police – but none of efforts to date have yielded any information on two-year-old Poppy’s whereabouts.
“I’m absolutely devastated by it all,” she said. “She was like my little baby. It’s the fact I don’t know where she is, who’s got her and what she’s going through.”
Poppy had been in the garden of Jo’s home in Southwood Close on the afternoon of June 20 when she vanished.
Jo, 32, said she got worried when she heard Poppy barking repeatedly and then everything fell quiet.
“Where I live there’s a walkway that leads onto the main road,” she said. “If Poppy is in the garden and anybody walks past, she’ll give a bark.
“She started barking and the next minute it went quiet. I ran out and looked everywhere. I thought if she’d got out of the garden, she’d be walking up and down the walkway. Somebody has obviously taken her.”
It was only once Jo started appealing for information online that she realised just how common dog thefts have become.
Earlier this year, the YEP reported an average of four dogs were stolen in West Yorkshire every week in 2017.
Police data revealed 221 dogs were reported to West Yorkshire Police as having been stolen last year, a rise of 20 per cent on the 184 taken in 2015.
Jo said: “There’s so many dogs getting stolen. I just can’t believe it. I’ve become really aware of how common it is.”
She said she was particularly worried because Poppy was part way through a course of medication at the time.
Poppy did not wear a collar but had been microchipped, she added.
West Yorkshire Police said it had not been proportionate to allocate an officer in this case.