A MIDHURST family are over the moon after being reunited with their valuable gundog and treasured pet more than 17 months after she was stolen.
Sky was one of seven working dogs stolen from a Lynchmere kennel last January in a disturbing new criminal trend where thieves were stealing valuable dogs to order.
Mark Hubbard said: “To be honest, I had given up all hope of ever seeing her again and when I got the call to say she had been found, I just felt sick with excitement.”
But Mark is angry that despite the fact Sky was microchipped, she had not been scanned once, even though she had had at least two litters of puppies after being stolen and must have been checked by vets.
“The children were devastated when she disappeared. We put out posters and launched a full-scale search, but I had given up,” said Mark, “I just hoped she was with a family who loved her.”
Then he received a call from a dog warden in Leicestershire who said he had scanned a dog which came up marked stolen and belonging to Mark and his family.
“We were so excited,” said Mark. “I jumped in the car and rushed off to Leicestershire.
“She knew us, came straight to me and jumped up. It was a very emotional moment.”
There was more to come when he brought Sky home to be reunited with his children William, eight, Phoebe, six, and Jack, three, as well as his wife Jo. “They were over the moon.”
He believes the much-loved family pet was stolen for breeding.
“She has been bred from at least twice since she has been away,” he said. “But at least that means she has been well treated otherwise she wouldn’t have been able to have the litters.”
He said it was believed she was sold to her last owner along with a pup from her last litter.
“She ran away from the new owner and that’s when she was picked up and taken to the dog warden who finally scanned her.”
Now back home, Sky has quickly settled back into life with the Hubbard family and Mark says he will be working with her again later this year.
But he is angry she had never been scanned in the 17 months since she was stolen.
“She has been bred from twice and if she was taken to a vet, she should have been scanned. That’s the whole point of going to the trouble to have the dogs chipped,” said Mark.
“It’s very disappointing that nobody has done what they should have done. There are a lot of stolen dogs out there and devastated owners and if the dogs were scanned properly, they could be returned to their rightful owners.”
So far there have been no arrests, but police in Leicestershire are continuing to make inquiries.