Woman kicked dognapper in shin as he snatched lead from her hand

Woman kicked dognapper in shin as he snatched lead from her hand
Owners have been told to ‘not let their dogs out of their sight’ (Picture: North News & Pictures Ltd nort)

A woman kicked a dognapper in the shin after he tried to snatch her dog’s lead from her hand.

Rachel Soley, 41, was ‘absolutely terrified’ after two men said ‘give me your dog’ as she walked her dog Woody on Salters Lane South in Darlington, County Durham.

Officials say incidents like these are rare, but owners have still been encouraged to ‘not let their dogs out of their sight’ after the ‘frightening’ incident.

Rachel told The Northern Echo she ‘didn’t sleep’ after she picked up Woody and fled the scene around 10.40pm on January 29.

She said: ‘I don’t normally walk him late. I had literally just left my house. I was aware of two guys – one of them started to walk over the road. They said to me “give me your dog”. I swore at them.

‘They then tried to take the lead off my hand. I kicked him in the shin.

‘I am 41 years old – I am not a young girl. I was absolutely terrified. I didn’t sleep at all that night as I was worried they’d followed me round the corner.’

Dated: 04/02/2021 Rachel Soley's pet dog Woody, who was the subject of an attempted dognapping when two men attempted to steal him while out on a walk in Darlington.
Rachel Soley’s dog Woody, who was the subject of an attempted dognapping (Picture: North News & Pictures Ltd nort)
Dated: 04/02/2021 Rachel Soley's pet dog Woody, who was the subject of an attempted dognapping when two men attempted to steal him while out on a walk in Darlington. Picture shows the scene of the attempted snatch.
Ms Soley ran away from the men on Salters Lane South in Darlington, County Durham (Picture: North News & Pictures Ltd nort)

Focus on the Human-Animal Bond. “Dogs and cats have broken down the walls of our hearts. There haven’t been comparable domesticated species in 5,000 years.” For Dr. Becker, it’s clear that pets and people have evolved to benefit each other. He explains, “When you’re petting them, you both get this massive release of oxytocin, prolactin, dopamine, and a decrease in cortisol. It’s a reciprocal biochemical spa treatment.” As they age, it can be easy to take pets for granted. Make time for a little human-animal bonding every day.

David Gray, director at Petpals Darlington & Yarm who is a member of DOGwatch, has warned much-loved pets can be ‘of financial value to these criminals’. Councillor Jonathan Dulston, the council’s deputy leader, has urged owners to be ‘vigilant’ – although said incidents like these are ‘low’ in the area and he doesn’t want to spur ‘unnecessary alarm’. Inspector Dean Haythornthwaite, from Darlington Neighbourhood Police Team, said police were working ‘hard to trace the perpetrators’. He said: ‘I would like to reassure residents that incidents like this are extremely rare in Darlington, with only seven dog theft incidents reported in 2020. In the vast majority of these incidents, the thefts or attempted thefts took place when the dog was in a garden, rather than while out on a walk.’
Inspector Haythornthwaite has encouraged owners to keep their dogs in view when they go out in the garden, to get them microchipped and to never leave pets tied up unattended.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected]

For more stories like this, check ournews page.

Sign Up for News Updates

Get your need-to-know latest news, feel-good stories, analysis and more

Not convinced? Find out more »