A dog owner is warning others to be vigilant after she was left ‘shaking and in tears’ when a man followed her home wanting to buy her rescue Lurcher.
Kathryn Doubleday, 31, of Charles Street, Tring, was walking three-year-old Ben in a field near to the Natural History Museum when a man approached her, telling her ‘That’s a good dog you’ve got there’.
The mum-of-one told the Gazette: “I thanked him and walked on, but he followed and started feeling Ben’s back legs.
“They are very muscular because he was used for hunting and goodness knows what else.
“Then he asked me how much I wanted for him and I was horrified. I said ‘Absolutely not’ and went to walk home.
“After a minute or so, I noticed that he was following me so I took a zigzag route home in an attempt to lose him but Ben saw a cat and barked mercilessly, so he caught up.
“When I got to my house I couldn’t see him in my road but I got Ben inside, locked up, closed the curtains and had a little cry.
“It was terrifying. It’s a very scary time for all dog owners.”
Kathryn, who lives with her partner Sy and their five-year-old son, believes dogs are being stolen – the smaller ones as bait, and the larger ones for fighting.
She says the best advice they have been given so far is to put a bandage or some sort of dressing around the dog’s leg, neck etc or use a lampshade collar.
She said: “If they look injured, they aren’t of any use.”
This is not the only incident the couple have been through, as last week Kathryn’s partner Sy was walking Ben in the same field when something similar happened.
Kathryn said: “Sy said a man drive through the car park gate in a flat bed van, left the engine running, jumped over the locked fence and started towards him and Ben.
“By this point, he was already on a lead and when the man got a few feet away from them, he then turned around and started kicking lumps of grass.”
Both incidents have been logged with police, but Kathryn and Sy want other dog owners in the town to keep an eye out and keep their pooches close.
The couple have set up a closed Facebook group called Safety In Numbers to encourage local dog-walkers to pair up and avoid going out alone, reducing the chance of their dogs being snatched.
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