Stolen dog is sold three times in 24 hours

Family tracks pet down after ing it for sale on Gumtree

The Gumtree advertisement for Prince

A Bridlington mum was stunned to discover the family dog up for sale on Gumtree, after he was stolen. The dog had been sold three times in 24 hours.

Charlotte Padgett, 23, had left the three-year-old bull mastiff, Prince, at home with her mother, when he was stolen from the back garden.

Desperate to find him again for her distraught five-year-old daughter Maddison, she started searching for him online - and found him up for sale on Gumtree for £250.

He had apparently been sold on three times, and was now around 70 miles away. The family was desperate enough to get him back to pay the asking price.

"We were lucky to get in touch with the guy. We are so happy that he's returned to us," Charlotte tells the Bridlington Free Press.

"He ran straight up to my five-year-old daughter, Maddison, who had been crying all night. She was heartbroken."

A 36-year-old woman has been arrested and since released on bail.

Most shockingly, according to Ms Padgett's mother Kristy Cropper, Prince was originally listed for sale on the site before he disappeared - indicating that the theft was planned.

Since April this year, it's been compulsory for dog owners to have their pet microchipped or face a £500 fine, making it that bit easier to reunite lost dogs with their owners. However, it's no help in cases such as this where the animal is changing hands illegally.

And dog thefts are on the rise in the UK, with recent figures indicating that more than 100 are stolen every month - up 22% over the last two years. Thieves are targeting the most valuable breeds, including Staffordshire bull terriers and toy breeds such as miniature French bulldogs and pugs.

In some cases, the dogs are held to ransom, with desperate owners paying hundreds or even thousands of pounds to get them back.

The Blue Cross advises owners to think twice before leaving pets alone in the car or tied outside a shop, and to be suspicious of anybody asking questions about your dog.

If you think your dog has been stolen, your first step should be to contact the police and the local authority dog warden service. If it's been microchipped, you should also alert the Petlog Reunification Service.

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