Heartbroken family make appeal for return of two dogs stolen from Sheffield allotments

A family has appealed for the safe return of two working dogs after they were stolen from their kennels on a Sheffield allotment.

Tuesday, 2nd February 2021, 2:17 pm

Springer Spaniel Fern, and Milly, a Jack Russell, were taken from Infield Lane Allotments, in Darnall, sometime after 7pm on Saturday, January 30.

Amy Swain, whose partner owns the working dogs, described the loss as heartbreaking.

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Spring Spaniel Fern (pictured left) and Jack Russell Milly (right) were stolen from Darnall on Saturday. Milly is older than in the picture but it is the most recent the family have.

She said that although the “beautiful” pair were kept in kennels, they were part of the family and were checked on everyday – with the RSPCA reportedly commenting how well looked after they were on a recent visit.

"We’re absolutely heartbroken and gutted. I take my two boys down [to the allotment], even my little lad has been asking where Milly has gone,” Ms Swain said.

"What do I say to a three-year-old? It’s upsetting. Even though they are down there they are family pets and they are well looked after. It’s hard.”

There has been a surge in dog thefts since the first coronavirus lockdown in March, with a rise in demand for pets causing an increase in prices and therefore making it more luctarive for criminals.

Dogs Lost, the UK's largest lost and found dog service, has reported an increase of 250 per cent in the past year, compared to the previous period.

Female dogs are often taken to be used for breeding, but Ms Swain says nine-year-old Fern and five-year-old Milly are ‘too old’ to produce pups.

She added: "There were three dogs in one pen, they’re all little dogs anyway and the pen is quite big. They must have climbed over the back through the allotments as they’ve bent all the fence.

"They’ve clearly opened the kennel door to get them out and taken those two dogs but the other spaniel we’ve got, Lulu, she’s got cancer and she can’t have pups – they’ve left her behind.

"Whoever it is must have known the dogs, they must have known Lulu can’t have pups. Shadow – who was in another kennel – is a boy and they haven’t touched him either.”

Fern and Milly, who are both microchipped, were discovered missing on January 31 when Ms Swain’s partner passed the allotments around 4pm and heard another of the dogs in distress.

Anyone with information should call 101 and quote crime reference number 14/23598/21.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.