Police have warned dog owners to keep a sharp eye after a schoolboy’s beloved pooch was almost snatched from his back garden.
Oliver Parker, 11, was horrified when he went into his garden to find a hooded stranger trying to force his American akita-husky cross-breed Diesel into a cage.
The unknown criminal made his escape by leaping over the wall, leaving Diesel unharmed.
Now Oliver’s mum Kelly, 36, is speaking out to warn other dog owners not to leave their precious pets alone.
She said: “Oliver had just let him in the back garden and the back door was open. He heard a howl so he went to the door and shouted ‘Diesel!’ and that’s when he noticed a man with a dog cage in our garden.
“He was trying to push the dog into the cage.
“I don’t think he knew there was anybody home and Oliver caught him off guard, and he threw the cage over the wall to another man and they ran into the road and sped away in a red van.”
Customer service worker Kelly, who lives in Layton, has now vowed to up security at her home following Tuesday’s near-miss.
She said: “It just happened so quickly.
“The first I knew about it was Oliver screaming but by then the men were already off down the road.
“He was distraught. He thought he was losing his dog. He was very upset and crying.
“I was shocked. Diesel isn’t just a pet, he’s a member of the family. If anything happened to him we would be devastated.
“We’ve had him for six years. Oliver worships him.
“I don’t even know what they wanted him for.
“My first thought was dog fighting.
“A lot of people put their dogs in their garden thinking they’re going to be safe. They need to know these people are still out there.
“I’ve having CCTV installed and Diesel isn’t allowed out on his own any more.
“If he’s out, we’re out too. I would hope they wouldn’t have the nerve to come back and try again, but I’m not going to give them the chance.”
A police spokesman said: “We were called at around 10.50am on May 31 to reports of a theft in Layton.
“An unknown offender has approached the rear of the house and climbed over the wall with a dog cage.
“They attempted to put the dog inside the cage, but were disturbed and made off from the area.”
The suspect is described as a short, thin male wearing a navy blue hoodie and a scarf over his face.
Anybody with information is asked to contact police on 101 quoting the crime reference number 429 of May 31.