1. ITV Report

Staff thwart theft of puppy from rehoming centre

Pierre is pictured safely back in the arms of canine carer Lisa Cole Photo: Dogs Trust Merseyside

Staff at Dogs Trust Merseyside have been left in shock after a man tried to steal a four-month old French Bulldog puppy from the rehoming centre.

Managers at the Huyton rehoming centre believe the man had hidden in the grounds of the site until the centre was closed to the public and darkness had fallen.

The charity says he entered the puppy nursery area after watching a worker who was looking after the litter of five enter a neighbouring puppy kennel.

He was spotted trying to leave with the puppy, Pierre, under his coat and he was chased off leaving the animal on the ground.

"We are so shocked that this has happened and thank goodness we got Pierre back, who is absolutely fine.

"French Bulldogs are a very popular breed and cost thousands if purchased from a responsible breeder so we suspect he was either being stolen as a Christmas present or for breeding.

"Whatever the reason, it’s absolutely despicable and unbelievable that someone would go to these lengths to get a French Bulldog puppy. We are so grateful to our staff for their quick action."

– Assistant Manager, Catherine Stulberg

It is thought the puppy was possibly intended for sale in the run up to Christmas.

The charity says it shows that its message ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ is still not getting through, as people continue to gift puppies as presents without thinking of the long term responsibility.

Pierre and his four litter mates have been cared for by Dogs Trust since being seized at Dover, when unscrupulous breeders were caught trying to illegally import them into Great Britain.