A woman is warning other dog owners to take care after her dog was nearly stolen in a Sussex park.
Kay Barnes, of Seaside Road, Eastbourne, was walking her four-month-old border collie, Barney, in Princes Park when an unknown woman picked him up and started to run away with him.
She said, “He’s normally a good boy and I walk him there a lot but he ran over a mound.
“I called him, and blew my whistle but he didn’t return.
“I looked down and this woman had him in her arms. At first I thought she was looking after him but when I waved and called out she turned and started running away.
“I saw red. I ran after her and rugby tackled her and grabbed my dog.
“The woman was stone cold. She said something about getting more money for puppies.”
Mrs Barnes, 41, returned home with a shaken but unhurt pet and reported the incident to police.
She said, “I’m a bit shocked but Barney’s alright.
“It makes you wonder how often it happens. If I hadn’t seen her I would have assumed Barney was just lost.
“I’ll be walking him on a long line in the future.”
Mrs Barnes said the woman was about five foot eight in height, “chubby,” with brown, shoulder length hair.
Reports of dog thefts have risen by 22 per cent in the last two years in England and Wales, with recent figures of more than 5,000 reports since 2013. According to the Missing Pets Bureau as many as 38 per cent of all animals reported lost have actually been stolen and as many as 60 per cent of these are never recovered.
The Blue Cross says, “Whilst pedigree pets are at the greatest risk due to the cost of purchasing pedigree puppies, non-pedigree dogs can also be at risk as thieves wait for a reward to be offered.”
The pet charity also advises, “If in doubt, use an extending lead, especially if you are in an unfamiliar area where your dog may get lost more easily.”