A beloved pet is back with his owners after he was dognapped and sold onto another family.Björn, a Russian Bolonka, was stolen on November 6 when thieves broke into his owners’ van parked up at Bluewater shopping centre in Essex. Micheal Fox and Johanna Kerwien had left Björn inside but returned to find the windows smashed and the pet missing, along with a laptop and some personal belongings. The incident was reported to police, and the couple launched a social media appeal to get Björn back but with no success.
Then five weeks later, they received a phone call from a woman in East Ham, who had bought an adult male Bolonka as a Christmas present for her daughter.
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The woman had shown a picture of the unique dog to a colleague, who instantly recognised him as the missing dog they had seen on social media.
The woman, who had kept Björn at home for two weeks prior to realising that she had bought a stolen dog, sent the couple photos of the animal she had bought.
Michael said: ‘We could tell immediately it was him. She then offered to meet us to give him back, as she obviously didn’t want to keep a stolen dog.
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‘She seemed genuine.
‘She said she had bought him from someone who had bought him from someone else who was selling him because they hadn’t bonded with him.’
The couple were reunited with Björn on Monday in an emotional moment.Johanna said they have had ‘a constant knot in our chest, worrying about how our little guy is being treated.’
The couple, who said Björn was like a child to them, travelled to Sweden to pick him up as a puppy and enjoyed two years with him before he was stolen.
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In the hope of raising as much awareness as they could, the couple made several video appeals for his safe return which were shared across social media.
While the police investigations into what happened to Björn are ongoing, the couple still don’t know what their beloved pet endured while he was missing.
Johanna said: ‘We took him to the vet this morning as he seems to have been sitting outside in the wet for a long time because he has yeast infections on his feet and in his ear.
INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Dogs have wet noses because it helps to absorb scent chemicals.
‘His hair was so matted that I had to shave his entire body.
‘But thankfully, he’s almost back to his happy self again.’Johanna, who is Swedish, said where she’s from dog thefts are unheard of. ‘My mum breeds German Shepherds for the police. We have to make so many background checks for people to buy them in the first place, so the puppies don’t end up in the wrong hands,’ she said.
‘In Sweden, people leave their dogs in their cars while they go food shopping with the boot cracked open because thefts just don’t happen.
It pays to be a lap dog. Three dogs (from First Class cabins!) survived the sinking of the Titanic – two Pomeranians and one Pekingese.
‘I 100% thought he was safe.
‘But now I know how rife these crimes are.’Michael and Johanna received support from a volunteer group The Missing Paw Team UK, which works with local forces to find and reunite missing pets with their owners by scanning them for microchips. Vicki Hudson, from the group involved in investigating the pup’s disappearance, said: ‘If you buy a puppy, you have to buy one which has been microchipped in the first eight weeks of its life, and that needs to be registered with a DEFRA-approved database.
Wow, check out those choppers! Puppies have 28 teeth and normal adult dogs have 42.
‘If you’re buying a dog anywhere other than through a rescue shelter or as a puppy, then take that dog to a vet to make sure the dog is healthy, but to get the dog scanned to make sure you don’t have a stolen dog.’
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