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'It's like losing a child': Owner of cocker spaniel stolen by callous gang tell of heartbreak at theft
Melanie Parker is heartbroken after six-year-old Jarvis was takenThieves used bolt cutters to open his kennel in Miss Parker's gardenHe was one of three cocker spaniels stolen in 24 hours by gang
22:33 GMT, 1 January 2013
18:07 GMT, 2 January 2013
The owner of a cocker spaniel that was stolen by a gang of serial dognappers has said the theft was ‘like losing a child’.
Six-year-old Jarvis was taken by thieves who broke into the Hampshire cottage of Melanie Parker.
Speaking last night, the 36-year-old said: ‘I’m absolutely devastated that someone could do this. He was like my child. Jarvis cannot be replaced.’
Heartbroken: Melanie Parker said losing Jarvis, who was taken from the kennel, pictured, is like losing a child
Jarvis, far right, is worth 1,500 and has a distinctive black line above his lip
The dog, who is worth 1,500, was taken in a break-in late on Sunday night. Thieves used bolt-cutters to break into the kennel.
Miss Parker said: ‘I love him like I love all of my nine dogs. They are my babies and it breaks my heart that Jarvis is gone.
‘I’m determined to find him and track down who took him. I just want him back. I can’t stop thinking about what he is going through right now.’
Jarvis, right, is one of nine dogs owned by Melanie Parker
Distraught: Melanie Parker, pictured with pet Alfie, left, said she all her dogs are her 'babies'
Black-and-white Jarvis is described as a well-trained working dog with a distinctive black line above his lip and his tail docked.
He was one of three cocker spaniels stolen in just 24 hours by the gang, who took 14-month old Maisie and nine-month-old Tia, each worth 600, from another property in Hampshire.
Dognappers attempted to take at least two more dogs at the weekend.
Speaking at her home near Sutton Scotney, Miss Parker recalled when Jarvis was taken. ‘I saw all the dogs were out of the kennels. Then I saw car lights heading up the driveway.’
The cottage is situated on farmland down a long, muddy driveway.
Miss Parker said: ‘It’s unpleasant to think someone must have been watching us and watching the house. They knew where the kennels are – you can’t see them unless you are in our garden.’
She fears that Jarvis will be taken abroad. She said: ‘If they get him out of the country, that’ll be it – we’ll never see him again.’
But the thieves left a vital clue behind – a muddy trainer footprint. Officers were said to be searching for a green 4×4 Subaru Forester seen in the area prior to the thefts.
Hampshire police warned owners to secure their dogs as the hunt continued.