ANIMAL welfare experts are urging pet lovers to be wary of rogue dog traders operating over the festive period.
Bolton RSPCA has issued the warning in the run up to Christmas, when there is a rise in people buying pets as presents, fearing people may be tricked into buying stolen dogs.
The call follows a spate of dog thefts in the Bolton area in recent months. Julie Ashcroft, of Bolton RSPCA, said: "People must think long and hard before buying a pet and they shouldn't buy from unreliable sources.”
Gareth Williams' Dogue de Bourdeaux, Bailey, was stolen from the garden of a friend's home in Wellington Street, Farnworth, two weeks ago, and Mr Williams is naturally worried that thieves will sell him on. "I just want him back safely. I fell in love with him when he was a puppy and we all miss him.
The theft follows an appeal reported in Our Dogs last week from 58-year-old Janet Laycock, whose three border terriers were stolen from her Bolton home, and in October, a Japanese Akita puppy was snatched from its owner as she walked it in a Bury park.
Mr Williams is offering a reward for the return of Bailey and asks that anyone with information contacts him on 0790 839 1518.
People with information about missing pets, should call the Missing Pets Bureau on 0800 0198 123.