pet owner is pleading for the return of her pet pooch after carjackers stole a dog walker’s van in north London.
The van, which had three dogs inside, was taken around 1pm in Barnet on Thursday.
“Our beautiful little 1 year old maltipoo called Nala was stolen this afternoon while the dogs were being dropped home from a walk by our dog Walker,” Ms Georgiou shared on Facebook alongside images of her one-year-old pup.
She said the dog walker had got out of the vehicle to drop one of the dogs home when “jumped in her van and drove off with Nala and two others.”
“Please if anyone sees anything suspicious or even spots her MESSAGE ME here. Thanks so much. We WILL find our beautiful girl. We have to.”
A search was launched for the vehicle and it was found later that day in Winchmore Hill with one abandoned dog, Kayla, left inside and the other two – Nala and Chester – still missing.
The Metropolitan Police said: “Police were called at approximately 1.58pm on Thursday, 18 February after a vehicle was reported to have been stolen containing three dogs on Prospect Road, Barnet.
“Officers found the vehicle parked and unattended on Haslemear Road, Winchmore Hill. The vehicle was recovered and returned to owner. No arrests have been made; enquiries into the circumstances are ongoing.”
On Friday, Ms Georgiou tweeted that Chester had been found while Nala remains missing.
“Chester has been found out of London and is now safe. Nala hasn’t been found but we have so much hope she will be. Thank you so much for all your shares.”
Ms Georgiou told the Standard: “The current situation is that Nala has been missing since yesterday and we’ve had no signs of finding her yet. Both Chester and the other dog Kayla (who have the same owner) have been found in different places and are now safe, but Nala is yet to be found which is devastating.
“We’re doing everything in our power to reach out to everyone and get this story out so more people can keep an eye out and be aware of this if they’re looking for similar dogs online.”
Ms Georgiou added that the public response has been “absolutely, overwhelmingly incredible” and she “could not be more thankful to every single person who’s shared our story to friends and family and on socials.”
“Everyone is SO passionate about finding our Nala from locals to people I’ve never met. People are going above and beyond to help raise awareness and it’s giving me much hope that we WILL find her and we won’t give up.”
This follows after missing pets website Dogs Lost reported a 170 per cent increase in the number of dogs being stolen across the UK since the start of the pandemic.
In January, almost 80 dogs were recovered in police raids in Carmarthenshire and Briton Ferry, with a large number of those animals reported as stolen.
A litter of English bulldog puppies were stolen from a home in Wigan and later found in Liverpool earlier this month in another suspected dog theft.
RSPCA has urged dog owners to take “extra precautions to protect their pooches.”
“It’s really concerning to hear about an apparent rise in stolen dogs. Pet theft is a heartbreaking and distressing situation for both pets and their owners,” an RSPCA spokesperson told the Standard.
“We’d urge all dog owners to take extra precautions to protect their pooches from thieves by neutering their pets, ensuring they are microchipped with up-to-date contact details registered, and ensuring they wear a collar with contact details embroidered or an engraved ID tag.
Dogs Trust’s Chief Executive, Owen Sharp added that the high demand for dogs and the increase in prices could play a role in why more criminals are “taking advantage of the situation.”
“Current sentencing does very little to deter thieves and does not take into consideration how devastating it can be to have your dog taken from you,” Mr Sharp told the Standard.
“Punishment for dog theft is determined by the monetary value of the dog, meaning perpetrators are often given fines which do not reflect the emotional impact of dog theft on the families involved.
“We fully support any action to introduce tougher sentences that will act as a deterrent for those committing these crimes.”
— to www.standard.co.uk