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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2017-09-12

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

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Man attempts to steal smuggled pup from Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre

STAFF at Dogs Trust Merseyside have been left in shock after a man tried to steal a 4 month old French Bulldog puppy from the Rehoming Centre.

Managers at the Huyton Rehoming Centre believe the man had hidden in the grounds of the site, on Monday, 4 December 2017, until the centre was closed to the public and darkness had fallen.

He entered the puppy nursery area, at around 4.45pm, having watched the staff member who was looking after the litter of 5 enter a neighbouring puppy kennel.

It is thought the puppy was possibly intended for sale in the run up to Christmas, highlighting concerns from the charity that the message behind its famous slogan:- 'A dog is for Life, not just for Christmas' which turns 40 next year; is still not getting through, as people continue to gift puppies as presents without thinking of the long term responsibility that comes with dog ownership.

Fortunately, as the man began to make his way to the site entrance he was spotted by a member of staff trying to hide the puppy, Pierre, under his coat.

Having been alerted to the situation, members of staff chased him to the entrance and, realising he had been spotted, the man put the puppy on the ground by the side of the road before running off.

Assistant Manager, Catherine Stulberg, says:- "We are so shocked that this has happened and thank goodness we got Pierre back, who is absolutely fine. French Bulldogs are a very popular breed and cost thousands if purchased from a responsible breeder so we suspect he was either being stolen as a Christmas present or for breeding. Whatever the reason, it?s absolutely despicable and unbelievable that someone would go to these lengths to get a French Bulldog puppy. We are so grateful to our staff for their quick action."

Pierre and his four litter mates have been cared for by Dogs Trust since being seized at Dover, when unscrupulous breeders were caught trying to illegally import them into Great Britain.

The charity, as part of its ongoing undercover investigation into Puppy Smuggling; a sickening trade which sees thousands of underage puppies illegally smuggled into the country, destined to be sold to unsuspecting members of the public; launched the Puppy Pilot scheme to care for smuggled puppies, by funding their quarantine costs and rehoming them responsibly. So far, over 600 puppies, just like Pierre, have been cared for through the pilot.

Catherine says:- "This litter have been through such an ordeal so they have been getting lots of TLC since arriving and we?re delighted to say they have all found wonderful forever homes, which they?ll be going to very shortly. The welfare of our dogs whilst they are with us is of paramount importance and of course we are very security conscious. In the 18 years we have been here we have never had a puppy stolen, but we are reviewing our security procedures to ensure this can never happen again. We encourage every dog owner to be extremely vigilant and ensure the security of your dog whether in your home, in your garden or out in public."

Whilst Dogs Trust would always champion rehoming a rescue dog, it has released advice to help anyone looking to get a puppy to ensure that they are buying responsibly, and not accidentally fuelling the Puppy Smuggling trade by purchasing a puppy that could have been illegally imported.


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