Sobbing fashion boss warns pet owners after masked dognappers try to swipe puppy – World News


A fashion boss has recounted the terrifying moment she claims four masked men tried to steal her puppy.

Taylor-Jade Homewood issued a tearful warning to pet owners after she claims the gang tried to snatch her lilac French bulldog in broad daylight.

She shared an emotional video on Instagram after she managed to pry her 19-week-old pup Harley away from the would-be dognappers.

Taylor-Jade says she is so scared of Harley being stolen she now walks her pup armed with a rape alarm and defence spray.

The suspected dognapping attempt comes amid a wave of reports of thefts as the popularity of puppies soars under the UK’s coronavirus lockdown.

Taylor told how she was walking Harley home after a short walk at 11am on Wednesday morning when she noticed she was being followed.

Have you been affected by dognapping? Email your story to webnews@mirror.co.uk



Taylor-Jade Homewood tearful in an Instagram video as she described an encounter with suspected dog thieves
Taylor-Jade Homewood was tearful as she described the chilling encounter

Taylor-Jade says she spotted a white transit van kerb crawling towards her, despite a 60mph speed limit on the road.

Immediately uneasy, Taylor-Jade stopped walking.

To her horror, she could see four masked men inside the van eyeing up Harley and nodding to one another.

As the van came to a standstill and the men went to jump out, the 20-year-old scooped Harley up into her arms, screamed and ran away from them towards another dog walker.

Taylor-Jade, who owns online retailer Misshunny London, shared a tearful warning to other dog walkers on Instagram sharing her ordeal and urging others to be vigilant.



Taylor-Jade in the park with her beloved lilac French Bulldog puppy Harley
Taylor-Jade with her beloved lilac French Bulldog puppy Harley

Taylor-Jade, from North Weald, Essex, said: “It was a really scary experience. You’re not just going to give your dog up, you’re going to put up a fight and you don’t know if these people have knives.

“The road I live on is 60mph, people go fast down that road, it’s not normal they go slowly.

“I saw this van go really, really slowly and I just had this weird feeling because he was going too slowly.

“I’m looking at them and they’re looking at me. I stopped, they stopped the van, looked down at Harley, nodded and I could see [them mouth] ‘yeah’.

“The man who was a passenger in the front was wearing a face mask, like the ones we all have to wear now, and the driver had a balaclava on.



Taylor-Jade Homewood recorded herself issuing an emotional warning for other dog owners to stay vigilant
Taylor-Jade Homewood issued an emotional warning for other dog owners to stay vigilant

“As the van door went to open I knew what was going to happen so I grabbed him, screamed for help, jumped over a ditch and ran towards a woman out walking.

“They drove off really, really slowly while I got my phone out of my pocket and called my mum who came out to see what was going on.

“If that woman was not standing by the side of the road god knows what would have happened, because it happened so quickly, it was all over in a matter of seconds.”

Dog lover Taylor-Jade said she believes the would-be thieves, who were travelling in a white van with sliding doors and a roof rack, were targeting pedigree pooch Harley in the hope of making a quick buck.

She said: “I think they were trying to dognap him with a view to selling him on.



Puppy Harley enjoys the recent snow blanketing
Harley enjoys the recent snow blanketing

“The market demand now for dogs is higher than ever, especially in lockdown because everyone’s getting dogs.

“These dogs are expensive and he’s a puppy so they know he’s not going to be neutered.

“Online the cheapest you can get a French bulldog puppy is about £1,800 and the most expensive go for about £20,000.

“The merle ones that are blue and white are no lower than £5,000, Harley’s a lilac French bulldog and he’s got green eyes so they’ve obviously looked at him and realised that.



French bulldog puppy Harley
Taylor-Jade believes the four men were about to attempt to steal her Frenchie

“I normally feel safe. I was only out for about seven minutes, not even that. I was just taking him for a quick stretch of his legs and a toilet break.

“When this happened I was just a 30-second walk away from my house.”

As the van drove off, Taylor’s mum came rushing out and it was then she burst into tears.

Taylor-Jade, who’s had Harley since he was 12 weeks old, said: “As soon as my mum came out of the house and I saw her I just burst into tears.

“In the moment you don’t feel upset but when you go indoors and think about what happened it really hits you.

“Harley had no idea what was going on but he got loads of hugs and kisses when he got in.”



French bulldog puppy Harley sleeping
The Essex dog-lover was terrified at what she believes was an attempt to steal her pup

She said she felt compelled to share her experience, to make sure other dog walkers are vigilant of their surroundings.

Taylor-Jade added: “I made the video because I want to warn people this is happening, these people need to stop doing it and be caught.

“That morning it was the first time I’d been out [to walk him] by myself but I thought ‘I’ll be fine, I’m only going to go up the road’ and then it did happen.

“I just don’t want it to happen to anyone else, if that woman wasn’t there what could have happened?

“If people ask, I’m fine, but when you’re sitting there and thinking what could have happened, especially at night it’s scary.

“My mum bought me a rape alarm from Amazon and I’ve also got a spray that stains their faces so they’re easy to spot.

“I made the video because I want to warn people this is happening, these people need to stop doing it and be caught.

“Harley is such a little bubble of joy, a real ray of sunshine. I take him everywhere with me.

“Why are they taking away a member of someone’s family? It’s like kidnapping a child.

“Why would you put a family through that? Just because they want a couple of grand in their pocket.”

Essex Police said instances of dog thefts in Essex had dropped from 65 reports in 2019, to 60 in 2020.

So far this year they had received five reports of dog thefts, with all of the dogs reported to have been stolen from homes or gardens.

An Essex Police spokesman said: “At around 11am, on Wednesday 17 February, a dog walker reported that three men were seen to be acting suspiciously in a van.

“The concerned dog walker immediately left the area. No attempt to take the dog was reported.

“It is important that if you spot any activity which you believe to be suspicious, please report it to us immediately.”





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