TWO LABRADOR puppies that were stolen from a top exhibitor’s home just over a week ago have been returned to her, safe and well, after a sum of money was paid for information which brought about their return.
As reported previously, Brenda Cox (Staeningas Labradors) left her home near Steyning, West Sussex for 3 hours on Saturday 26th August leaving her 10 Labrador puppies in a secure play area. When she returned home, nothing had obviously been tampered with but two puppies were missing, suspected stolen.
The puppies were one black bitch and one yellow bitch; both aged eight weeks at the time.
The police initially felt that the puppies escaped from the pen somehow - although no obvious exit point was found - and whoever then found the puppies had kept them or had decided to sell them on. Mrs Cox and her friends believed, however, that the puppies had been stolen.
Mrs Cox duly contacted Doglost UK, the Missing Pets Bureau and also sought advice and help from several friends. Posters were distributed and information posted on the Internet regarding the puppies’ disappearance.
Mrs Cox told OUR DOGS: ‘There was no trace of the puppies but I received a wonderful, fantastic response from literally hundreds of people. It restores one’s faith in humanity.
‘For the first few days I kept an open mind on what how and where had happened to them, but various things made strong suspicions fall in a certain direction reasonably locally. I offered a reward of £500 from the start and this was on all the local posters I put up. Then a wonderful person doubled this to £1,000 midweek. Only one poster was changed to show £1,000 for a day or so. This poster immediately vanished but no contact was made. The rest remained at £500.’
On the night of Saturday, September 3rd, a week after the puppies had disappeared, Mrs Cox received a telephone call late in the evening from a withheld number and was told that the puppies had been found wandering on a road about seven miles from her house, so an arrangement was quickly made to pick them up. The caller demanded the £1,000 reward money in cash. Mrs Cox called her friend, fellow breeder and exhibitor Mrs Diana Stevens, (Wylanbriar Labs) who offered to accompany her to make the rendezvous.
Mrs Cox continues: ‘The police wished to play no part in the return. They were not at all helpful with regard to any money changing hands. As far as they are concerned, the pups were found wandering and a reward for that amount was offered somewhere, which is good enough for them to consider it out of their hands. The wandering part simply cannot be true, that is all I can say.’
Mrs Cox and Mrs Stevens met the caller at the specified location, taking some burly male friends as a back up in case any was needed, and the puppies were handed over.
Mrs Cox added: ‘When I got the puppies back in the car I just broke down and sobbed and sobbed. But I had them back, that was the main thing. The pups were skinny but well cared for, not smelly or in need of a bath and were not showing any signs of ill treatment, were not hand-shy or nervous in any way. They were thrilled to see their littermates and dam - more so than she was to see them!
Diana Stevens adds: ‘Whilst giving in to blackmail can never be right, sadly when it happens to you really you grab it with both hands. We understand that the police cannot condone working in this manner. I keep worrying when I fall asleep, I will wake up it will all have been a dream. I have got so emotionally involved myself and I know Brenda is incredibly grateful for all the messages, support and help. Words are just not enough to say how happy we both feel.’