Uncooperative police refuse to return a man’s Springer Spaniel gundog


NEWS AND VIEWS: John Gaunt, 45, is a gamekeeper and he owns five dogs. They are kept in kennels. The coronavirus pandemic has not only created a surge in the purchase of dogs but also encouraged the illegal importation of dogs from Eastern Europe to the UK and as a consequence many more thefts of dogs. The market in dog ownership has been desperately upset by this pandemic. Three of Mr Gaunt’s gundogs were stolen from his kennels to supply this crazy dog market in the UK.

Mr Gaunt’s dispute with the police

The police seized forty-nine dogs from a Traveller site in Orpington, South London. Allegedly among them were Mr Gaunt’s three gundogs. One of them he has called Tilly which apparently is a pseudonym in order to keep the dog safe. Tilly was micro-chipped. Mr Gaunt recognised his dog from the markings on her coat.

Tilly on the left
Tilly on the left. Photo: The Times newspaper. Photographer unattributed presumed to be Mr Gaunt.

It is reported that the microchip has been removed and that the police are being uncooperative. They refuse to return the dog to Mr Gaunt and because there is no microchip he has had to resort to DNA testing. He’s also instructed a solicitor to sue the police for the return of his dog.

He’s going to get a court order for a DNA test on his dog and then compare the results with the DNA record of the breeder from whom I understand he adopted the dog. He can then prove ownership and that should force the police to release the dog to him. Apparently an order has been made but the police have done nothing about it. As the headline of this article states, the police are being uncooperative. I would argue that they being bone idle as well.

The thieves stole the three female cats of his five gundogs. One was been found wandering the streets weeks later. Her name is Poppy. The third, Pepper, is still missing.

Mr Gaunt has spoken to the Conservative MP for Ipswich, Tom Hunt. He’s also been involved in a debate on the BBC in which he said that he felt “angry, gutted, upset and sick” at what has transpired.

He discovered that his dogs had been stolen when he went to the kennels to give them breakfast. A chain attached to the lock was broken and he guessed at that point that there’d been taken. He’s been through an emotional rollercoaster.

You have such a rollercoaster of emotions – you feel like somebody has just taken your legs out from underneath you. The demand for puppies was so high, it drove prices through the roof and that’s why we are in this situation.

He believes that the dogs are worth at least £2,000 each. The Met police said that they are looking into the matter after, I believe, The Times contacted them.

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