A family has been left distraught and inconsolable after their much-loved dog was stolen from their family home.
Layla Scott, from Moss Side, Leyland, says that her Staffie cross, called Blue, was taken from their back garden in Cheetham Meadow over the weekend after letting him out for a runaround.
Layla, who works for Age UK, said: “It happened on Saturday around 9pm after Blue was let out in the garden as per usual where we left him for 15 minutes.
“Upon calling him he didn’t return. We found that the iron gate had been unlocked and pushed wide open.”
Mum-of-three Leyla thinks he may have been taken for the intention of breeding or fighting – but at 10-years-old she fears for him as he is “so soft” and “scared of the Chihuahua next door”.
The theft follows a Post investigation last month revealing dog-napping in Lancashire has soared by almost 80 per cent in the last two years.
Last year 116 dogs were reported Stolen in the county – a 78 per cent increase from 2015/16.
Jayne Hayes from DogLost UK believes the figure is only the tip of the iceberg as it only includes owners who have been able to get a crime number.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers like Blue – who has a white patch on hs chest, a white paw, and skin tags on his left eye – are the most popular target for the thieves in the county, with the breed making up around one in five of all the dogs taken.
Since Saturday the family have spread posters around town with vets, kennels, and local CCTV checked to find information on his whereabouts, but to no avail.
Leyla’s children, Mia, 17 Demi, 15 and Ayva, eight, are “once again...distraught and inconsolable” after Blue was previously taken away from the family seven years ago by police who were concerned it may be an illegal breed. Blue was later released unconditionally.
Demi and Avya have also made a short video, which has so been viewed more than 15,000 times, asking for any help to find Blue.
Leyla said: “It’s like he’s my fourth child and a brother to my daughters. He’s a proper family dog. It’s disgusting that people can do things like this.
“We now want to make Blue too hot to handle.”
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “We got a call at 10:32pm on March 10 over reports of a theft relating to a dog in Leyland.
“The dog had gone missing from a back garden in Cheetham Meadow and is believed to be stolen.”
The family are offering a reward to anyone that can find Blue.
The family can be contacted on 07762995404 or 07568521330.
Alternatively police can be contacted on 101 quoting log number 1559 of March 10 and crime reference number SC-1802020.