Police investigate professional dog-sitter after 'nine pets' vanish in her care

Police are investigating a professional dog-sitter after 'nine pets' disappeared while in her care.

The much-loved pets - including a number of pugs and a French bulldog - were said to have fled the walker after being "spooked" by a loud bang.

Dog owners are now using a drone in Hopwas Woods, near Tamworth, in a bid to find their pets after they allegedly vanished while in the care of a pet-sitter.

But, four days on from the alleged incident, none have been found - and their owners say they are "at their wits' end".

Becky Parsons, from Erdington, also claimed her dogs, Maggie and Pablo, had not been returned.

She had used the services of the sitter on two previous occasions - without any concerns - but she returned from holiday on Monday and was unable to get in touch with her.

Her animals - a black pug and a tan pug and Jack Russell cross - are both microchipped.

Becky said: "I have had the dogs since they were puppies. I am devastated, they are my world.

"I have had a lot of family bereavement recently and the dogs have been my comfort. I can't explain how it feels."

Pugs Ralph and Charlie were part of the group of dogs that vanished. Credit: Becky Parsons

There were claims up to nine dogs could be missing, many from the Sutton Coldfield and north Birmingham areas.

In a new statement on Thursday, June 27, police confirmed officers had spoken to the dog sitter.

But the West Midlands force stressed it currently remained a civil matter and a criminal investigation would only be progressed if there was evidence of dogs having been stolen or harmed.

The walker claims that the dogs were lost in Hopwas Woods. Credit: BPM Media

A West Midlands spokeswoman said: "Pet owners have been contacted to determine what happened to dogs that allegedly went missing under the care of a Birmingham-based dog sitter."

"If there is evidence to suggest the dogs have been stolen, or harmed in any way, a criminal investigation will be progressed.

"If there’s nothing to support the allegation, it remains a civil matter, and the owners will then be advised to pursue civil action against the business."

Searches were being carried out at Hopwas Woods on Thursday night, June 27 and were expected to continue into the weekend.

April Lock, the owner of missing pugs Ralph and Charlie, wrote on Facebook: "The Army in training are going down to Hopwas Woods today, tomorrow and all weekend to search.

"They are going to criss-cross the whole of the woods, as part of their training, in search of the dogs."

James Egan left his beloved 18-month-old French bulldog Jack with the dog-sitter for the first time, while he took a weekend break with wife Liz.

But on Sunday, hours before they were due to collect their pet, James was told he had disappeared.

Jack, a 18-month-old French Bulldog, has also vanished under the walker's care. Credit: ITV Central

James, from Kingstanding, said he returned to the woods with the dog sitter to search for the missing pooch, but they could find no sign of him.

On Wednesday he said: "It was the first time we had left Jack,"

"I didn't like the thought of leaving him at a kennel, so we went with the dog sitter who would look after him in their own home.

"We thought he would be safer and the dog walker seemed very professional."

Pugs Ralph and Charlie have also gone missing. Credit: Becky Parsons

He added: "We were due to fetch Jack on Monday but on Sunday I had a phone call from the dog sitter to say he had been lost.

"The walker claimed they had been walking their own dog, along with ours, in Hopwas Woods.

"They said there had been a loud bang which spooked the dogs and they had run off.

"I was sympathetic at first as the walker was really upset but then something didn't sit right."

James said he soon learned of other dog owners who were also in the same position.

  • Anyone with information regarding the lost dogs can contact West Midlands Police with information by calling 101.