Hugo the English Bull Terrier, worth around £1,000, was dog-napped from Laura Patch’s East Reading flat near Cemetery Junction a week after a man wearing a hoodie tried to steal him from stables in Warfield. Nothing else was taken during the raid.
The 22-year-old animal warden, who raised her two-year-old pooch from a puppy, said she is now completely lost without her companion, who was taken while she was on a night out with friends.
Miss Patch, who has offered a reward for his safe return, said: “I was absolutely hysterical when I got home and realised Hugo had been taken and just ended up breaking down in tears.
“Hugo’s my life and I’m always with him. I really miss him and it just breaks my heart that somebody has done this.”
She continued: “I’m pretty sure he was targeted and someone must have followed me home from the stables as I’ve only just moved to Reading from Essex and not many people know where I live.
“It is very suspicious as my neighbour said they saw a silver BMW near the flat when Hugo was stolen and after a man tried to steal him at the stables he ran into the same type of car.”
English Bull Terriers, known as the gladiator of the dog species, are bred as companion dogs but due to their heritage and appearance are often confused with other fighting dogs.
Miss Patch said her pride and joy could be worth a lot in the underground dog-fighting world either for breeding or fighting,
but reckoned he was too soft for that.
She added: “He’s such a big softie I don’t think he would want to fight. I’m really worried about where he might be or who has taken him and just want him back safely.”
Mark Young, a spokesman for the Bull Terrier Club, said dog thefts among the breed were not uncommon.
He said: “Some unscrupulous people do target the dogs as they think they are fighting dogs even though most of them won’t actually fight.
“It is dreadfully sad to hear about and we would always encourage any pet owners to be careful with their animals as there are people who will target certain breeds to get some kind of cash gain.”
Police spokeswoman Andrea Bennett said witnesses with information should call PC Mandy Gibson on 08458 505 505 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
The owner is offering a £200 reward for Hugo’s safe return.
Call 07825 913 138.