Sheffield pet owner paid ‘ransom money’ to suspected thieves for dog’s return

Bella is now home safe
Bella is now home safe
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A dog owner has spoke of her ‘traumatic’ ordeal to retrieve her beloved pooch back off people she suspected who stole it.

Catherine Scheneider, aged 38, of Gleadless Common described how she went on a ‘wild goose chase’ to bring back her three year-old Chihuahua Bella.

Owner Catherine Schneider with Bella

Owner Catherine Schneider with Bella

She received reports that a family had ‘found’ the dog and was directed to a property on Fir Vale.

Catherine said: “We got to the house and I was so happy to see Bella but the Gypsy woman kept demanding more cash.

“I handed over around £350, that’s all I could draw out but they wanted more.

Ms Scheneider added that more members of the family kept arriving to the house which attracted the attention of the neighbours.

Bella is now home safe

Bella is now home safe

“The family said they had found it but were kids coming up to me on the street saying they had stole her.

“I felt really intimidated, there was big guys standing in our way and we knew we couldn’t go without giving more money.
“I wasn’t leaving without her I got angry and wasn’t going to give in to them.”

Catherine and her boyfriend managed to get away unscathed with the dog.

The ordeal has prompted the owner to increase security on her property.

“Im not letting any of my dogs out of my sight.” Catherine said.

“I’ve got a secure lock on the gate and I’m thinking about installing CCTV - I’ve learnt a valuable lesson.

The hunt for Bella went viral on social media since she was ‘stolen’ at around 9pm last Wednesday.

“There are some really horrible people out there but one thing that the hunt for Bella has shown me is there are so many good, kind people.

“I’d like to thank every single person who has helped me - you have kept me going.”

Police are said to be looking into the incident and are set to meet Catherine later this week.