Pitbull that was stolen and returned after appearing in Gazette goes missing again
PUBLISHED: 15:37 18 July 2019
A pitbull terrier stolen at knifepoint from school kids seven years ago but returned after an appeal has gone missing again – and her owner fears the worst.
Star, the Smith family's dog, hasn't returned home since about 1am on Saturday, owner Caroline Smith told the Gazette this week.
The dog, who has a star shaped scar on her leg, was stolen from Caroline's son and niece in 2012. She was returned and left tied up outside a police station a few days later. Caroline believes thieves decided to give the dog back after realising she was neutered, chipped, tattooed and readily identifiable, and after an appeal in this newspaper.
On Saturday, Caroline says, Star was frightened by a noise and ran off. Despite time spent whistling in the park to call her back, Caroline couldn't find her, and she's not been seen since.
Caroline has since searched and put flyers up around the Upper Clapton area near Springfield Park where she lives. She has contacted the police, Battersea Dogs Home, Defra (the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and the RSPCA - with no luck.
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"[Star] has lived here for nine years and she'd definitely be able to find her way home." Caroline said. She thinks dog-nappers saw an opportunity when Star ran off.
Star was given to the family, who did not realise she was a pitbull until she was about seven months old. Pitbull terriers are banned under the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act though it is possible to get an exemption.
Despite their reputation as "fighting dogs", Caroline told the Gazette: "She won't bark and she's not an attack dog. She's very much a family pet."
The ordeal has made Caroline "quite stressed." She just wants Star back home as soon as possible.
There is a tattoo on her dog's left leg that reads ED12312. Star is light brown and female.
In 2017, according to the Metropolitan Police, Hackney experienced a spike in dog-napping. 15 dogs were reported stolen that year - more than anywhere else in London. Ten dogs were reported stolen in 2018 and six so far this year.