Cocker Spaniel stolen for breeding purposes rescued six years later

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Bonnie with Carinie and Simon Hall on her return

Bonnie, who is now 10-years-of-age, is a female Cocker Spaniel who was stolen from her home in Rushyford, County Durham, six years ago on May 17, 2014 and who has been found and rescued in a park at Wisbech, 180 miles away. She was stolen for breeding purposes and when she was found and checked out by a veterinarian she was dehydrated, bleeding and her heavy teats were still producing milk. The veterinarian estimated that she had given birth about six weeks earlier and that her uterus was worn out. A hysterectomy was performed the day after. It was her 10th birthday.

Bonnie with Carinie and Simon Hall on her return

Bonnie with Carinie and Simon Hall on her return. Neil Chapman / SWNS.

At the time of her disappearance, when Caroline and Simon Hall let Bonnie and their labrador out onto their farm, they searched endlessly saying, “It was a 24-hour-a-job”. They received a phone call from Caroline Trigg, a dog warden at Fenland District Council, Cambridgeshire who asked whether they had a dog called Bonnie. Simon said yes, “but she was last six years ago”. Caroline replied, “We’ve found her”. It surely was a joyous but bewildering moment because they must have given up after six years of waiting and searching.

“We just couldn’t believe it. We still can’t really believe it,” says Caroline while she sat on her sofa next to Simon and their daughter Katie with Bonnie between them.

The Times informs us that five dogs are stolen every day in England and Wales. The Cocker Spaniel is a particularly desirable breed partly because they can be mated with poodles to produce the ever popular Cockapoo, an adorable-looking dog, incidentally. They are particularly adorable during the coronavirus pandemic when there’s been a surge in adoptions of cute, small dogs among them this breed (and French Bulldogs).

The moment of reunion was tweeted by Nigel Champan, a journalist with Lynn News:

Please note that embedded videos like the one above sometimes stop working over a period of time and if that has happened I apologise but it is beyond my control.


The pandemic lockdowns are a reason behind the surge in: thefts of dogs and highly inflated prices for dogs such as Cockapoos selling for £3,500 whereas before they soldered about £1,000, plus the problem of first time dog adopters who frankly are unable to truly take on the responsibility of looking after a dog for the life of the dog. This has resulted in a potential surge in abandonments but because the dogs cost so much rather than abandoning them to rescue centres they are selling them online (it’s against the rules to do that on Facebook) where a dog can find themselves in yet another home where they don’t fit in and where the owner is unsuited leading to fearful and sometimes aggressive dogs.

Bonnie has suffered during those six years in confinement, perhaps becoming pregnant over and over again, wearing her out. She is 10-years-of-age, as mentioned, and therefore nearing the end of her life although that is very sad to say. She will be loved tremendously and Christmas for her has been planned. They have plans to walk along the beach of North Berwick, a walk that Bonnie particularly loved and while she awaits that fun time she is happy to recover, snoozing on the sofa and being with her human companions once again.