I decided to tell the bare bones of this story in a picture, an infographic, because I think it leads itself to that kind of presentation. It is an interesting and unusual story as only one in four stolen dogs are reunited with their owners in the UK. Many other dogs are not so lucky and the owners have to thank the couple who bought Twiglet, the miniature dachshund online and played things smart.
There is a video of the theft from the home security camera footage covering the kitchen and it is distressing as Twiglet is very distressed when she is grabbed by the thief. She looked terrified. It must have been a terrible ordeal for her.
The release of the video by the police was a key element in the successful return of Twiglet as it informed the couple who were offered Twiglet online that he was a stolen dog. They then had the means to act as intermediaries in recovering Twiglet.
We are not told if the owners, Mr and Mrs Vindis reimbursed the couple the £700 that they paid for Twiglet. I expect that they did.
I would also expect the thief to be apprehended. The video is decent quality and on the basis that he is a delivery driver, the company for whom he works will be able to track his movements to see if they coincide with Mr and Mrs Vindis’s home unless he drove out of his way for a considerable distance.
A neighbour, Iain Keys, 51, said that the community really saved Twiglet by banding together to spread the word. This was a community effort. Although it appears that Facebook was a central part of the story, there was a lot of spreading of information to other websites and social media sites all of which occurred very quickly which helped to reunite dog and owner.
In effect, the dog became too hot to handle for the thief and he had to find a quick buyer to off load Twiglet.
On the wider issue of pet theft in the UK, Direct Line pet insurance said in a report that 2,160 dogs in Britain were stolen in 2022 which is a rate of six every day.
The most popular breeds to steal are American Bulldogs, Staffordshire bull terriers and French bulldogs. Although The Times reports that dog thefts have fallen by 22% year-on-year because the demand for stolen dogs has decreased during the cost-of-living crisis.
Twiglet made it home against all the odds.
Beverley Cuddy, the editor of Dogs Today magazine, said: “Although reported dog theft numbers may be going down to pre-pandemic levels, the reality is that a significant number of cases still go unreported. Coupled with the rise in people using dog walkers, multiple dogs could be stolen at one time. Only one crime reference number is assigned when this happens, so we believe the scale of the problem is likely to be much bigger.”
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