Joy as dog stolen in Hackney is reunited with owner four months on

Verity and Henry with Janice Godfrey, Senior Vet Nurse at the Hackney branch of Goddard Veterinary G

Verity and Henry with Janice Godfrey, Senior Vet Nurse at the Hackney branch of Goddard Veterinary Group - Credit: Archant

A dog which was snatched and bundled into a van has been reunited with his owner, three months after being stolen.


Henry - Credit: Archant

Verity Phillips, 27, had lost all hope of finding her 18- month-old Pomeranian pooch Henry after the callous thief stole him before her eyes in Hackney Downs on December 4.

The trainee accountant from Chichester was staying with her boyfriend nearby, and had taken Henry for a quick walk along Cecilia Road when he was set upon by another dog.

As Miss Phillips struggled to free Henry from the jaws of the bull terrier, she let go of his lead and the pooch fled down the street and into the arms of the thief.

She said: “I took off, running after him, screaming, thinking he was going to get run over as he’s so small.

“As I got around the corner into Downs Park Road I heard a squeal and saw a person grab him. I remember taking a gasp of relief that someone had caught him but in a millisecond he had driven off.

“I crumbled onto the ground in the middle of the road. I’ve never been so broken in my life.”

Most Read

A distraught Miss Phillips spent days searching estates in Hackney, but her vet told her there was little hope of finding Henry alive as he had just had a major leg operation and would have needed urgent medical attention.

She said: “I was grieving and was not okay, but I had come to terms with it, mainly because I thought he was no longer alive.”

But then out of the blue two weeks ago, Miss Phillips received a call from Hackney Police telling her that they were about to carry out a raid on an address in the borough and that a small dog, similar in appearance to Henry, had been sighted there.

Once the dog was retrieved, they took him to the Goddard Veterinary Group in Well Road, Hackney, which confirmed it was Henry through his microchip.

Miss Phillips, who was reunited with Henry three hours later, said: “It was absolutely joyous. As soon as he heard my voice, he started squealing uncontrollably and he leapt towards me. His whole body was shaking.

“His leg is messed up and it might have to be amputated. And he is a little bit afraid, and gets a bit nervous – I think he keeps having flashbacks every now and again.”

She thanked Hackney police and Goddards for their help. Brian Barnett, a vet at Goddards, said: “It was a privilege to watch Verity and Henry’s reunion and made us very happy. Unfortunately, there are many similar stories with no happy ending – animals that disappear or are brought into us as strays but are not chipped.”

so we have no way of identifying their owner.”