A woman who believes her beloved Chihuahua was stolen is urging vigilance after dog thefts in West Yorkshire almost doubled in three years, according to new figures.
Wendy Tungate, of Shepley, is still looking for Roxy seven months after she went missing and hasn’t given up hope of finding her.
Figures from West Yorkshire Police suggest that thieves are targeting breeds including Chihuahuas, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Jack Russells.
After putting up hundreds of posters, offering a cash reward and knocking on dozens of doors, Wendy had to put up with callers giving false or misleading information.
And she was left angry after many of the posters she put up around Shepley and Stocksmoor were torn down and dumped in a bin.
Wendy said a man had phoned earlier this month to say he had seen a dog in Middleton, Leeds which matched Roxy’s description.
She raced over to Leeds that night but, after talking to lots of residents, concluded it may have been a hoax caller.
Roxy went missing on October 4 last year after she had wandered off into nearby woods while Wendy was at work.
After carrying out extensive searches in the area, Wendy believes Roxy may have been found by someone and then taken away.
The value of such dogs – Roxy cost £550 – may provide one clue as to a possible motive for theft.
“I have not got over it and I never will,” said Wendy, who said her children, Coby, eight, and Connor, 14, also “miss her daily.”
She added: “I would urge other owners to be extremely cautious. I didn’t sleep for three nights and I left the gate open as I thought she would come home.
“It’s like losing a member of your family. It’s sickening and it is a disgusting world that we live in. I try and live in hope that a family found her and she is living with a different family.”
Figures released by West Yorkshire Police have revealed that Chihuahuas are one of the most common breeds to be stolen in West Yorkshire, with 12 taken between 2014 and 2016.
A total of 58 Staffordshire Bull Terriers were taken over the same time frame, making the breed the most targeted by thieves. A total of 18 Jack Russells were taken, the second most common to be targeted, with Chihuahuas in third place.
The overall number of dogs taken in 2014 in West Yorkshire was 110, with 15 recovered. Last year 208 were stolen and 37 recovered.
According to the figures, the total number of dogs taken in the three years since 2014 was 496. A total of 71 animals were recovered.
Meanwhile, Wendy is still appealing for information about Roxy. A Facebook page, Help Find Missing Roxy!, has over 1,000 followers.