The owner of a dog allegedly starved by strangers says he was ‘devastated’ by the death of his beloved pet.
Ex-army man Jack Kitching’s four-year-old French bulldog, Buster, disappeared from the garden of his Raikes Parade home in late February.
He was found more than a week later emaciated and seriously ill, the family says, in the yard of a Blackpool house.
But despite being reunited with his family with the help of dog rescue group Harvey’s Army, Buster was unable to recover, and died after suffering eight serious seizures.
RSPCA officers said they are investigating the incident.
Jack, 25, said: “A dog is a member of the family. To us, it’s unforgiveable. I hope whatever they did to my dog comes down on them 10 times harder.
“We’re absolutely devastated.”
A dog walk in memory of Buster was held on Blackpool Promenade earlier this month, where friends and family lit lanterns in memory of the family dog.
Father-of-four Jack and his partner Yoshima Wiseman, 29, bought Buster as a puppy after moving to Blackpool four years ago.
Jack said: “Buster just captured our hearts right away. We travelled all the way to Wales to get him.
“He was a great dog, awesome with the kids, and he didn’t even bark.
“His temperament was wonderful. He was a perfect, happy little dog.
“We still don’t know if he was taken from our garden or if he somehow managed to get out.
“I feel so guilty because I was the one who let him out that morning.”
The family say they were contacted on February 29 by a man who said he had found their dog wandering the streets, but later changed his story and said he had rescued the pup from his neighbour’s home.
Buster, who was known to have suffered a seizure in the past, was taken to PDSA on Hawes Side Lane, where he spent three days in intensive care.
Jack said: “He did perk up a bit and they let us bring him home but the next day he took a turn for the worse and he had to be rushed back in.
“He had eight seizures in an hour.
“The vet told us we could keep trying but advised it was probably best to do what was right for him and let him go peacefully.”
The family, along with members of Harvey’s Army, have now raised £575 for the PDSA charity to thank them for their efforts to save Buster’s life.
Jack said: “They did everything they could for him but because they are a charity they need our support.”
Maxine Graber, of Harvey’s Army pet charity, said: “I have noticed a number of dogs have been found in the Blackpool area and the people who have found them have not reported it to the dog warden.
“People need to be aware that it’s the law.
“You can be prosecuted if you find a dog and don’t report it. It’s counted as theft.”
An RSPCA spokesman said: “We do not have enough evidence to establish any offences to pursue further at this time.”