A STAFFORDSHIRE Bull Terrier owner has been forced at gunpoint to hand over his dog, after a gang of four men beat him and threatened to shoot him.
The four-strong gang told construction manager Anthony O'Brien from London they would kill him unless he let go of his one-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier Tia. He resisted at first, but one of the attackers hit him in the face and made as if to pull a gun from his waistband pocket.
The attack took place in the early hours of June 10th as Mr O'Brien and a friend walked the Stafford a road in Dalston, East London.
A black car with four men inside pulled up alongside the two and two passengers leapt out. ‘One of the men started asking questions about the dog, such as how old she was and what breed she was,’ said Mr O'Brien. ‘‘The guy was patting the dog and was asking the same questions over and over again, so I began to become suspicious. He was bending down and took hold of her lead when suddenly he stood up and smashed me in the face. He started going mad, screaming for me to give him the dog. He put his hand down the waistband of his trousers as if to get a gun and was threatening to shoot me, so my mate said: 'Just give him the dog'.I am totally and utterly in shock, I really thought the guy was going to kill me, and for what, a little dog who is a part of my family and a constant companion to my children.’
Mr O'Brien is convinced his pet is still in Hackney and is appealing for people who have seen her, knows where she is, or has been offered her for sale to come forward in confidence.
He contacted the missing dogs website, www.doglost.co.uk, which aims to reunite stolen dogs with their owners.
DogLost UK Founder Jayne Hayes said: ‘This is a growing crime trend and one we are very concerned about.’
One of the attackers is described as being a light-skinned black man, aged about 25 and 5ft 10ins tall. He is of medium build and was wearing a smart black shirt, black trousers and black shoes. His hair was black and cropped short and he was holding a white Nokia mobile phone.
Another is a black man of the same age and about 6ft 2ins tall. He was wearing a white T-shirt and had a black beard.
Tia is a white Staffordshire bull terrier. She has a brindle patch over her left eye and large brindle patches over her body. She also has a small lump on her stomach where she has had a hernia.
The attack is the latest in a growing number of violent attacks on dog owners in which their dogs are stolen, and the second in which the use of a gun has been threatened.
* Anyone with any further information on Tia’s theft should contact Training Det Con Robin Coakley at Shoreditch police station on 020 7275 3628.
OUR DOGS comment: This news tory has come hot on the heels of a report by the Metropolitan Police which suggests that - in London - Staffords are the most stolen breed of dog. The clear suggestion is that the dogs are stolen - perhaps even ‘to order’ - for various nefarious reasons, such as drug running, burglaries and dog fighting.
Mike Homan, OUR DOGS Stafford correspondent told us:
‘Throughout London and the Home Counties the numbers of lost, stolen or strayed Staffordshire Bull Terriers has reached epidemic proportions. Of course this is not just a London problem - other cities and towns throughout the country have a similar situation.
‘All Welfare Group Kennels and Battersea Dogs Home are swamped with Staffordshire Bull Terriers of all ages needing homes. Unfortunately, the numbers of dogs far outweigh the number of people ready and willing to provide a home. One major problem - the number of experienced Staffordshire Bull Terrier owners available and willing to take on a dog requiring some corrective training.
‘Luckily, we do have Staffordshire Bull Terrier Welfare and a number of breed club rescue sections. Sadly, these days it is not enough. There are a great many experienced and not so experienced people out there that could help with the situation. For most putting a pound or two in a collection box eases the conscience. In truth how many so-called breed fanciers could help - but are unwilling. After all it is not just the general public that has created the current situation, it also the pot hunting show crowd.’