DISTRAUGHT sanctuary staff have sent in the pet detectives after thieves targeted a much-loved dog.
Staffordshire bull terrier Sid was stolen from Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary after thieves prised their way into his cage.
And now sanctuary owner Mandy Leigh is desperate to secure his safe return.
The male dog – who is between two and four years old – has been missing since the thieves struck on Saturday night.
And Mandy is anxious to stress Sid, who it is feared has been stolen to order, is useless as anything other than a family pet.
She said: “It’s bad enough when any dog goes missing but with these type of dogs you know they get into the wrong hands.
“He has been castrated so he is no use for breeding and we’re hoping when they realise he is no use they will chuck him out.
“He is micro-chipped so we’re hoping the dog wardens pick him up.
“Sid was very destructive but he has settled down a treat and is very friendly, so when the thieves somehow bent his cage he was so happy to see somebody he squeezed through the gap to them.
“Everybody at the sanctuary is terribly upset about it, it’s awful not knowing where he is.”
The theft has been reported to the police, but Easterleigh has also enlisted the help of the pet detectives in a bid to secure Sid’s safe return.
Investigators from Animal Search UK have headed to St Annes to help look for the dog, and have produced posters which are set to go up around the town.
Tom Watkins, from the firm, said: “The staff at the sanctuary are stretched to the limit caring for all the 90 plus pets that are currently living at Easterleigh so when we heard about the theft we offered to step in and co-ordinate the investigation whilst liaising with local police.”
Sid had been at the sanctuary for around nine months, and Mandy – who is offering a reward for information which leads to the thieves being caught and Sid’s safe return – is particularly keen to trace three young men who expressed an interest in him in just hours before he went missing.
The black dog is described as “chubby” and has a distinctive white patch on the lower half of his chest.
Anyone who sees him should contact Animal Rescue on 0800 4 320 340.