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Did dognapper take pets?

PUBLISHED: 18:00 20 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:35 03 March 2010

AN angry Suffolk mum who believes her dog could have been kidnapped or stolen for breeding purposes, today warned animal lovers to keep their prized pets under watchful eyes.

AN angry Suffolk mum who believes her dog could have been kidnapped or stolen for breeding purposes, today warned animal lovers to keep their prized pets under watchful eyes.

Distraught Lorraine Florence has seen no sign of her beloved black labrador, Henry, since he disappeared on August 5 last year.

Her sister's adorable tan and cream beagle, Toffee, who was with the pedigree labrador at the time and let out an ear-piercing howl moments before the pair mysteriously vanished has also never been traced.

Speaking after thieves kidnapped a priest's dog in Lower Gornal, West Midlands, and threatened to kill it unless a £3,000 ransom was paid, Mrs Florence of Stone Street, Hadleigh said that she feared police in Suffolk were not taking possible case of dog-napping seriously enough.

"The police wouldn't accept they had been stolen, not ever. Dogs to them run away.

"Henry just disappeared that day and it's just unbelievable. He was a brilliant gun dog. He was very striking, we were going to use him as a stud dog.

Mum-of-one Mrs Florence, 42, was walking Henry and Toffee off the lead in fields at the back of her house not far from the Kersey Mill area when the animals disappeared.

Four-year-old Henry had been with the family since he was a puppy but Toffee, two, belonged to her sister Maureen Moore and her family of Stockton Close, Hadleigh who were away on holiday at the time.

Despite scouring fields, woods and roadsides, broadcasting appeals on local radio and stumping up a £500 reward, no sign of the dogs was ever found. Without even a spot of blood or sign of a struggle it was as if the animals "had disappeared off the face of the earth" said Mrs Florence.

"My son Drew is just three and he still talks about Henry. Every time I see a black labrador I stop the car. It's like a child has gone missing. The worst thing is not knowing what happened to him.

"I feel if the police had taken it a bit more seriously they might have fallen across something and might have picked him up a bit earlier."

Three months after Henry's disappearance Mrs Florence and her husband Robert, 40, bought two black labrador puppies, Penny and Parker.

"They were supposed to replace Henry but we found we didn't like them. I was so frightened something might happen to them and I would have to go through all that pain again.

"It's only now as they are starting to get their own personalities and they are good fun that we have started to accept them," she

admitted.

A spokesman for Suffolk Police said: "We do take this seriously. There have been cases of high value pedigree pets being taken and like any other valuable property we would encourage people to keep them safe and especially in the case of dogs, not to let them roam."

n Suffolk Police traced a woman suspected of stealing a rare pedigree cat from Lowestoft all the way to Germany through Interpol. The catnapper, who is accused of stealing the moggie valued at tens of thousands of pounds, is now in the hands of the German authorities.


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