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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Reunited! Couple handed back 16-week-old puppy stolen by motorbike thieves

By Emily Allen

Puppy love: Pauline and Ian Parsons with daughter Ashleigh Parsons 16, re-united with their puppy Alfie

The delighted owners of a 16-week-old puppy that was snatched by opportunistic motorcycle thieves have been reunited with their pet.

Tiny spaniel Alfie was taken by a pair of thieves in a bank raid-style operation last week and was captured on CCTV.

Despite frantic efforts by his owners, Pauline and Ian Parsons, both 45, to find him, it was only after their story hit the headlines on Mail Online that Alfie's new owners got in touch.

The puppy was returned by a couple who bought him just hours after he was snatched from outside the family business in West Bromwich.

They said they were walking their own dog when a man approached them and asked if they wanted to buy another dog.

They paid over the £150 asking price for the little King Charles Cavalier spaniel, after being told that he was the last of a large litter.

After seeing press coverage about Alfie's disappearance, the couple contacted the Parsons family to tell them the good news.

Happy to be home: Alfie bounding around the garden with his family after heartless opportunist thieves stole him

A couple over the £150 asking price for Alfie the King Charles Cavalier spaniel after being told that he was the last of a large litter

He was quickly reunited with his rightful owners, who said that he is slowly getting over the ordeal.

Mr and Mrs Parsons, from Coseley, West Midlands, had watched in disbelief as two men roared up on a motorbike and snatched their pet from a playpen outside the family-run Metal Supermarket

The pillion rider got off scooped up Alfie and wedged the dog between him and the getaway rider before they sped off.

Mrs Parsons said: 'He was a bit timid at first, but he's settling back in now.
'It must have been a bit of a shock for him.'

She added: 'I've got to be honest, I didn't think we'd see him again.

Dog thieves: The dognappers are caught on CCTV after stealing Alfie

'He's so little, and it would be so easy to shift him on to someone else.'

The Parsons had been tirelessly canvassing their local area in an attempt to find Alfie, as well as posting messages on Facebook and various missing pets websites.

Mrs Parsons said: 'If it wasn't for the press coverage I doubt we would've seen him again.'

Though the family are 'thrilled' to have their dog back, they hope that their ordeal will act as a warning to others to be vigilant when letting their own pets out.

She added: 'The main thing to remember is that these people are still out there.

A treasured photo of Alfie: Ashleigh Parsons pleaded for help to find her dog yesterday

'I can't believe the nerve of them, they came right up to the door and took him. We are still looking out for them.'

But the family said they are finding lots of time to spoil Alfie, and that he can look forward to being a pampered pooch for some time to come.

Mrs Parsons said: 'He isn't going to be allowed out of our sight now.'

The incident last Thursday afternoon was captured on CCTV and the couple are appealing for help in finding the two thieves.

Mrs Parsons said one of them wore a helmet with a black star and silver lining.

They were riding a scrambler-type machine with yellow wheels.

She added: 'He's just gorgeous and a brilliant dog – really clever. The customers really took to him as he's a real character. Everybody turned soft when they saw him – even the biggest blokes were reduced to mush.'

She added: 'We have never had a puppy before. We decided to get one because we could take him to work with us.

Jayne Hayes, founder of the charity Dog Lost, said the number of pedigree dogs being stolen had soared since the recession began.

'We see 150 to 200 cases a week. People just grab the dogs and sell them on and they get away with it because the police don't do much.

'I've never seen a theft like this before, though. This a worrying development, but there is definitely a market out there for expensive pedigree dogs like Alfie.'



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