A family has been left heartbroken after their ‘gentle giant’ Newfoundland dog was stolen from their garden.
Nicky Hill is appealing for nine-year-old Yogi’s safe return after he was taken from the garden of her home in Fishlake on November 9.
Mother-of-three Miss Hill, aged 35, says her beloved dog was like a brother to her children, who have been left devastated by the theft.
She said: “When I realised he wasn’t there I panicked. I don’t know how someone could do this, it’s not like he’s a small dog someone could just pick up. I think someone may have taken him thinking he was a lot younger than he was with the purpose of using him to breed but he’s nine years old –he just looks younger.
“I think people may realise this and then dump him.
“He’s chipped so I’m hoping someone will find him and we’ll get him back.
“It’s been two weeks now though so I’m not so sure.”
Miss Hill says her three children Holly, aged 12, Ben 10 and eight-year-old Joe Sengelow have been left devastated by the crime.
She added: “The kids are absolutely heartbroken, he was like a brother to them, he’s a gentle giant and it’s so lonely without him.
“He’s an old man and we just want him back home where he belongs. We are offering a reward for his safe return.”
Miss Hill says she has been surprised at the rising number of dogs being stolen in Doncaster.
She said: “I joined the Lost and Found Pets page on Facebook to appeal for information about Yogi and I’m really surprised at the number of stolen dogs in Doncaster, my news feed is constantly filled with stories about other stolen dogs.”
The news comes after South Yorkshire Police confirmed 200 dogs had been reported as stolen in the region over the last two years.
Animal charities believe many of the stolen dogs are sold on the black market, used to breed or used as fighting or guard dogs.
Sylvia Tabor, chairman of the Dog Theft Action charity, said: “For thieves, the rewards can be high and the risks low. So it’s sadly seen as easy money.
“In law, dogs are classed as property like a TV, so sentences are low for taking a living creature away from its family.
“Unfortunately, it can also often be seen as a low priority by police.”
If anyone has information about Yogi contact Nicky on 07554017397