Woman and two boys arrested after Essex police seize ‘stolen’ dogs

Essex Police have arrested a 54-year-old woman and two teenage boys in an investigation into dog thefts.

Supported by the RSPCA, officers carried out a warrant at an address on Braintree Road on 1 April.

They found 27 dogs, including 19 adults and eight puppies of mixed breeds, including spaniels, terriers, lurchers, a French bulldog and a rottweiler at the residence.

It is believed that the puppies, aged between six and 10 weeks old, may have been born on-site.

Officers are still working to identify the adult dogs and establish whether they were stolen.

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The woman and the two boys were taken into custody on suspicion of theft and animal cruelty, but have since been released under investigation.

It is unclear if they are related.

“We know the devastation the loss of a much-loved pet can cause and we take reports of thefts seriously,” said PC Glenn Braden of the Uttlesford Community Policing Team in a statement.

“We have been carrying out extensive enquiries into recent reports of thefts and this warrant comes as part of that,” he said. “We are now working to identify the dogs we found at this address and, if stolen, identify their owner so we can return them.”

Particularly in the wake of the pandemic, police forces in England have seen a surge in the number of dog thefts happening across local communities.

According to charity Doglost, reports for dog theft surged last year from 172 dogs reported stolen in 2019 to 465 in 2020.

Just days ago on Friday, one family was left devastated after their 13-week-old puppy was taken by an unidentified teenager in Kent in an unrelated incident.

Describing the incident to The Daily Mail, Julie Borland said she was taking her daughter’s puppy, Kali, a cross between a French bulldog and a pug, for a walk through a town centre when she was approached by what she believed to be a teenage boy around the age of sixteen.

She said he asked her questions about the dog and then appeared to start following them, raising Borland’s suspicions.

When she eventually lost sight of the teen, she decided to take Kali off her lead, but said the teenager then “came out of nowhere” and snatched the puppy off the street.

‘I am not stupid, he just came out of nowhere, it happened so fast,” she Borland said.

‘He just was a young boy, I thought he was being friendly. I was shaking in the street, I was so upset,” she said.

The incident was reported to local police.

PC Braden asked that anyone with information on dog thefts in the Essex area come forward.

The police can be contacted on 101 quoting incident 136 of 1 April. Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously at 0800 555 111.

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