DEVOTED dog owners are known for forging lasting attachments with their pets, but one woman has put her life on hold and made massive financial sacrifices after seeing her pedigree pride and joy stolen.
Dawn Maw has even remortgaged her home in Cawthorne, near Barnsley, and is now offering a huge £10,000 reward for information that leads to the return of four-year-old German short-haired pointer Angel.
Mrs Maw said Angel was taken from a car park near her home as she helped one of her other three dogs into her car.
She said the driver of a white transit van grabbed Angel, threw her into the back of the vehicle and sped off.
She called the police but officers have been unable to find the thief so she has put up 15,000 posters around Barnsley and the surrounding area and has given out 35,000 business cards, which she said had cost her and her family thousands.
The desperate dog owner has even hired a “pet detective” at £500 and created a Facebook page, which led thousands of supporters to donate £3,000 which has been put towards the reward fund.
Another £7,000 has been raised against Mrs Maw’s three-bedroom detached house – and posters have been re-printed to publicise the cash which she says will be paid out to anyone who is able to reunite her with the missing dog.
The 42-year-old mother-of-one, who works as an investigator for the Department for Work and Pensions, said she had “no qualms” about stumping up the five figure sum.
She added: “Initially I was offering £3,000 made up of contributions from my Facebook friends.
“As a result I had a few calls from people claiming to know where Angel was but nothing came from them.
“So I decided to increase the reward because I am desperate to get my dog back and I thought the best and quickest way to do this was to remortgage the house to make it £10,000.
“My husband, Dominic, wasn’t happy about doing it at first but he’s accepting it more now because getting Angel back is the only way life is going to return to normal in our house.
“It means we have extended our mortgage from 15 years to 20 years. The reward has only been public for a couple of days but I’m really hoping people will see itand be encouraged to keep a look out.
“The reward will be for her safe return or for information that leads directly to her, it will be paid in cash and I have no issues with that, I am simply determined to find her.
Mrs Maw bought Angel for £700 when she was a puppy and she is one of only two show and working champions of her breed in the country, which may explain why she was targeted by the dog thief.
Angel has been microchipped and spayed and, unusually, still has a full-length tail which has not been docked.
Mrs Maw said: “I have no idea why she was taken because she can’t breed, so I expect someone knew she was a champion and thought ‘I want that dog’.
“I worry that whoever has taken her might have now docked her to make her less noticeable, but we have blood samples from her relatives so we can prove it is her by DNA.
“Since she was taken I haven’t stopped looking for her. I contacted the police straight away and made the Facebook page and then contacted the pet detective.
“We have put out around 15,000 posters, distributed about 35,000 business cards, and have adverts on the packages of dog products that are sent in the post to people.”
A spokeswoman from South Yorkshire police confirmed the force had received a report of the theft.
He said: “At around 7.20am on December 6, it is reported that the woman owner was placing her dogs into the rear of her vehicle.”
The spokesman added: “A German short-haired pointer was believed to be in the nearby scrubland a few metres from her owner.
“It is believed that when the woman called to her dog there was no sign of her.
“As she did so, it is reported that a white Transit-style van left the area at great speed.”