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Dog theft victim receives abusive text messages

A WOMAN whose dogs were stolen has been subjected to abusive text messages from the alleged thief and police say they cannot act, despite having the caller’s mobile phone number and a guarantee from the mobile network to release his home address details to the police.

Sian Wright from Tydd St Giles near Wisbech, Cambridgeshire had the three dogs – all Cavalier King Charles Spaniels - stolen from the back garden of her home on Thursday, April 7th. The dogs, all males are: Charlie – a Blenheim boy aged 3 years, Alfie – a Tricolour boy aged 15 months, and Jo-Jo – a Tricolour boy also aged 15 months.

Mrs Wright contacted the police but was not given a crime number initially. "According to the police officer I spoke to, dog theft ‘just doesn't happen round here’," Mrs Wright told OUR DOGS. "It wasn’t until later when I contacted DogLost that she issued me with a crime number.

Before involving DogLost, Mrs Wright put up posters advertising the dogs’ theft locally, with her mobile phone number given as a contact and offering a reward for the dogs’ safe return.

However, her anguish at the loss of her dogs was compounded further when she started receiving text messages from a man claiming to have stolen the dogs and threatening to do them harm if Mrs Wright did not grant him sexual favours.

"I started receiving these disgusting texts last Thursday and they’re still continuing at all hours of the day and night," Mrs Wright added. "I’ve spoken to him a couple of times to try and reason with him, but he’s just evasive about the dogs and isn’t interested in being paid for their return. I showed the messages to the police and have written down every one, as I have to delete them to keep my phone’s memory clear for any genuine messages about the dogs. However, their attitude to the messages was that ‘they could be worse’.

Having noted that the caller’s number was displayed on her mobile, Mrs Wright contacted his mobile phone provider O2 and was reported the matter. The company said that the caller was a registered user with a name and address on file, but that they could not release this information to her. However, they would release his number to the police if they contacted them formally. When Mrs Wright suggested this she was told that it could take up to six months for them to do so, as the calls merely constituted ‘nuisance phone calls’ and as such were not serious.

"I just cannot believe the police’s attitude in all of this," Mrs Wright told OUR DOGS. "First of all they don’t take the theft of my three dogs seriously then I’m told that these disgusting messages aren’t as bad as they could be. Then when I take the time and trouble to contact the mobile phone company – something they could have done as they are supposed to investigate crime – I’m told they’re just nuisance calls and it could take six months for them to investigate. I have three young daughters and we’re all terrified, not just with this idiot calling at all times but also at the thieves blatantly taking he dogs. I feel like a prisoner in my own home and apart from DogLost and yourselves taking an interest in this matter, I feel totally isolated and let down by the police."

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire Police told OUR DOGS: "Police are investigating the theft of the three dogs from a property in Tydd St Giles, near Wisbech, and have pursued several lines of inquiry. So far, these inquiries have not led to any significant development or arrests but we are still appealing for anyone with information, or who was in the area at the time of the theft, to contact police on 0845 456 4564.

"The victim has put up posters in the local community with her mobile phone number on in an attempt to trace the dogs. This has resulted in her receiving nuisance text messages which police have no reason to believe are from the thief. The police have started the procedure required to trace the mobile phone, which will also involve the mobile phone company, but as it is not being treated as a high priority case and this process could take a few months."

Jayne Haynes, founder of DogLost and also the political lobby group Dog Theft Action, which is putting pressure on the police and Government to take dog theft seriously commented: "Although all owners of stolen dogs are naturally distressed, the pain and fear this lady has been subjected to are beyond endurance. In my opinion, he lack of adequate support from the police has left this lady feeling a double victim. I can only describe the people who are doing this as the scum of the earth. We and other decent dog owners want to see justice done. We have to stand together and show we want this taken seriously!"

Following OUR DOGS’ enquiries and DogLost’s investigation into the whole matter last week, a great deal of local media coverage took place, which led to a grudging comment from Cambridgeshire Police that "further investigations" with regard to following up the identity of the obscene caller were under way.

In a further exciting development, the oldest Cavalier, Charlie, was found by a member of the public wandering along Oxney Road, Peterborough last Thursday (April 21st). Charlie was later reunited with a delighted Sian Wright and her family. Apart from some missing teeth, which may have been loose anyway and an associated gum infection, as well as being rather thin, Charlie was in good health and was immediately checked over by a vet. Although nervous for a day or so, he soon settled down with his family again.

On Monday of this week, Sian Wright told OUR DOGS: "We’re delighted that Charlie is home safe and well. I think, as Jayne Haynes told me, that all the publicity about his theft made him too ‘hot’ to handle, so the thief or thieves dumped him. We’re all very hopeful that Alfie and Jo-Jo will turn up soon in the same kind of way, or that someone who recognises them will get in touch.

“I am so grateful to DogLost for all their help and to OUR DOGS for highlighting our case. Dog theft is a terrible thing to happen, it’s like having your own family kidnapped. What made it worse was the initial attitude of the police that it was ‘just a dog’. Now they’re investigating the whole thing properly. “

DogLost website: www.doglost.co.uk
Phone 01909 733366
DogTheft Action website: www.dogtheftaction.co.uk
Cambridgeshire Police: 0845 456 456 4