'We're lucky to get her back' - Drone finds missing Pinky after 17 days

Ciaran, April and son Elijah Kelly with pinky the dog who was found near a Sainsburys in Ipswich Pi

Ciaran, April and son Elijah Kelly with Pinky the dog who was found near a Sainsbury's in Ipswich. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

A family reunited with their beloved pet after she went missing for 17 days has praised the drone group who found her. 

Pinky, who is two years old crossbreed, disappeared on April 23 in Ipswich while her owners were on holiday.

Ciaran, April and son Elijah Kelly with pinky the dog who was found near a Sainsburys in Ipswich Pi

Ciaran and April Kelly with Pinky - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Pinky managed to escape under the gate of her pet sitters, in Bridgwater Road, Ipswich, and disappeared for the next 17 days.

During those long days, owners Ciaran Kelly, his wife April, their two sons, Elijah and Leo as well as the local community of Chantry were looking for her.

Ciaran said: “For those 17 days I went for a lot of walks, I knocked on a lot of doors, put up posters and got the word online.” 

After a few days of Pinky being missing, her worried owner contacted the Drone SAR, a group of volunteers who help look for missing animals.  

Ciaran, April and son Elijah Kelly with pinky the dog who was found near a Sainsburys in Ipswich Pi

Pinky, is now back home with her owners after 17 days missing. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Since 2017, drone pilots and ground searchers have helped reunite 2,750 dogs back with their owners. 

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Graham Burton, the founder of the group, said: “Everything started when I was an admin of a number of missing dog groups, and we used to get people asking if anybody has got a drone to help look for a missing animal. 

“Five years ago I set up a dedicated group for volunteer drone pilots, so if anybody needs a drone, they can come to us, and we can allocate a drone pilot. We look not only for dogs but also for other animals, horses, sheep, goats, pigs, tortoises and birds.” 

Ciaran, April and son Elijah Kelly with pinky the dog who was found near a Sainsburys in Ipswich Pi

Elijah Kelly, who is six years old with Pinky - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Mr Burton from South Wales added: “I do it because I love dogs. Dogs are a part of the family. We’re a nation of animal lovers.” 

Pinky was spotted around Chantry estate and was finally caught near Sainsbury's, in Hadleigh Road, by drone volunteers on May 9.

How volunteers were able to catch Pinky after 17 days.

How volunteers were able to catch Pinky after 17 days. - Credit: Drone SAR

How volunteers were able to catch Pinky after 17 days.

How volunteers were able to catch Pinky after 17 days. - Credit: Drone SAR


Ciaran said: “Pinky was pretty thin and weak when we found her. We’re lucky to get her back.” 

Ciaran, April and son Elijah Kelly with pinky the dog who was found near a Sainsburys in Ipswich

Ciaran, April and son Elijah Kelly with Pinky, the dog who was found near a Sainsbury's in Ipswich Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Charlotte Bond

He added: “I want to shine the light more on the Drone SAR group. Even though they’ve got a strong following on Facebook, I feel like more people need to know about them. 

“If it wasn’t for them, I don’t think we would have Pinky back.”  

The Drones SAR group can be found on Facebook.