There is an increased demand for “lockdown pets”. These are companion animals designed to keep people company during these frequent lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic. There’s been a surge in demand for puppies and fancy-looking toy dogs such as small bulldogs which has fuelled the illegal importation of animals and thefts as illustrated by the theft of a spaniel by the name of Ted.
Ted is a short tail “Sprocker” spaniel. He is “owned” by the family of Mike Jasper. Mike was walking in Cannon Hill Common near Morden, London SW20 when two men punched him to the floor and stole Ted. He has advertised a £5,000 reward. Ted is micro-chipped. Any information leading to the return of Ted will qualify for the reward.
Mike Jasper is distraught because Ted “is everything to me and my family and the house is so quiet and lonely without him. I really struggled with my mental health over the last few years and Ted was a big part of my recovery. Without him I don’t know how to go on. It just feels like I’m living in a nightmare with no end in sight.”
I’m told that dog theft has surged by 250% in Britain since the beginning of 2019. From March 2019 to June of that year thefts rose by 65.5% compared to the same time last year per a freedom of information request to 24 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales.
This is organised criminality with gangs travelling to rural homes and farms. Street thefts have also increased. The thieves remove the microchips from dogs so they can be sold more easily. The Jasper family believe that Ted was stolen because he looks like a working cocker spaniel. Apparently they are more valuable if they are working dogs. Lucinda Jasper, Mike’s daughter, believes that Ted will be sold for a high price.
Sadly it was the first time that Mike Jasper had walked Ted on the common for six weeks. He was approached by a man who joked: “What, do you think I’m going to steal your dog?”
A second man came from behind Mike Jasper as he bent down to put Ted on his lead. Mr Jasper was pushed to the ground and the thieves grabbed Ted’s lead and ran off with Ted. They were laughing as they disappeared. The thieves are said to be white, in their late 20s and about 5’10” tall. One had a London accent and was wearing camouflage trousers and a black hoodie. The other wore a black puffer jacket and a baseball cap.