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Dog stolen at gunpoint is recovered

A DOG that was stolen from its owner in a busy street after a thief threatened its owner with a gun has been recovered safe and well by police, writes Nick Mays.

‘Bailey’, a three-month-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross was stolen at around 10.30pm on Tuesday, June 7, as his owner was walking along Kennedy Road, in Ealing, West London.

Dewayne Carrington, 23, a civilian police worker said that his three-month-old bull terrier cross was snatched by a man wielding a handgun as he and his 22 year-old girlfriend walked Bailey on a street in Ealing, West London.

He said he was confronted by the hooded gunman near his home and was forced to hand over the puppy. Bailey was retrieved after he was seen being walked later. Police are investigating.
A spokesman from Ealing police said: "He turned around and saw that the robber was holding a black handgun in his hand. The robber said, ‘drop the lead,' and the victim did as he was told."

The thief then took up the lead and walked off with the puppy, described as "a gold-coloured, English and Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross breed", valued at £250. The robber, described as black, aged around 20 years old, 6ft tall, was wearing dark-coloured clothing with a hooded top. He was last seen making his way along Kennedy Road towards nearby Greenford Avenue.

It is not known at this stage why there was a three-week delay in the crime being reported, although it is possible that the owner was hoping to receive a ransom demand for the return of Bailey. The owner notified the police and also the missing dog helpline DogLost.

However, the story has a happy ending. Mr Carrington’s girlfriend was walking down a street in Ealing last week and saw Bailey being walked by a family, to whom the dog had apparently been sold. She called the police who immediately attended – no doubt because of the gun crime originally involved, rather than a ‘simple’ dog theft - and arrested the men. Bailey was returned to Mr Carrington soon afterwards unharmed and happy to be reunited with his owner.

This is believed to be the first time that a dog has been stolen from its owner at gunpoint.
Two years ago a woman from Hertfordshire was assaulted in a park in Stevenage by two men who tried to steal her dog and stabbed her with a knife when she refused to hand the dog over.

The latest theft in Ealing indicates a disturbing trend in the escalation of dog theft and shows the extent to which some individuals intent on stealing a dog will go.

Jayne Hayes, founder of DogLost UK that reunites owners with their dogs, said that ‘dognappings’ had "gone through the roof" since she set up the service, and Staffordshire bull terriers were the most common targets. She said: "We have heard of dogs being taken at knifepoint but this is the first gunpoint theft I am aware of."

Meanwhile, animal welfare organisations called on dog owners to take steps to safeguard their pets from theft.

The RSPCA and the Blue Cross both issued statements urging owners to be vigilant when walking their dogs and to ensure that they have their pets micro-chipped.

A spokesman for the RSPCA said: "This is a growing problem and one that could be prevented if dogs were routinely micro-chipped." A Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed that they were continue to investigate the incident in Ealing.