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Owner is reunited with her beloved 11-year-old spaniel SEVEN years after dog was stolen for breeding

A beloved sprocker spaniel dog has finally been returned to her owner seven years after she was stolen by breeders who used her for illegal puppy farming.

Emma Drewett, 49, from Little Marlow, Buckinghamshire, was reunited with pup Flash, 11, after she was stolen from the family by criminal breeders in 2015, who made her produce litter until her old age.

Gamekeeper Emma and her teenage son Luke feared they would never see their dog again as on average, sprocker spaniels live to 12-15 years.

A nationwide appeal proved fruitless and the family’s hopes waned over the following seven years, with ‘thousands’ of people helping share the missing posts all over social media – but to no avail.

But incredibly Flash was found by a dog-lover almost 200 miles away from Emma’s home.

Michelle Burrow, who lived in South Wales, contacted Emma after having bought Flash from a local breeder.

Beloved sprocker spaniel pup Flash, 11, has finally been returned to her owner Emma Drewett, 49, from Little Marlow, Buckinghamshire, pictured at home together, after going missing for seven years while being used for breeding

After a check-up at the vets, Michelle discovered the elderly dog ​​was microchipped and belonged to Emma and her family.

Michelle and Flash had been living together for seven months already, and had forged a close bond, but handed back the dog to her original owners last weekend.

Unbelievably, before the microchip scan revealed all, a friend of Emma’s had stumbled upon Michelle with Flash, and alerted Emma of the dog who bore a striking resemblance to her friend’s missing pup.

Dog thefts in the UK jumped to a seven-year high of 2,760 last year, the equivalent of eight pets being snatched every day and a 16 per cent rise since 2015.

A nationwide appeal proved fruitless and the family's hopes waned over the following seven years, with 'thousands' of people helping share the missing posts all over social media - but to no avail.  But incredibly Flash was found by a dog-lover almost 200 miles away from Emma

A nationwide appeal proved fruitless and the family’s hopes waned over the following seven years, with ‘thousands’ of people helping share the missing posts all over social media – but to no avail. But incredibly Flash was found by a dog-lover almost 200 miles away from Emma

A total of 45 French Bulldogs were stolen last year, up 29 per cent on the previous year, while a further 24 Jack Russells were also taken – a 140 per cent rise on the ten recorded in 2020.

Other smaller breeds such as Chihuahuas, Pugs and American Bulldogs were also highly sought after among criminals, according to new figures revealed under a Freedom of Information request and compiled by Direct Line Pet Insurance.

Staffordshire Bull Terriers were previously the most popular target breed for thieves, but dropped to seventh last year following an 88 per cent fall.

London was the UK’s hotspot for dog thefts, with 422 incidents reported to The Metropolitan Police last year, more than double the next highest areas of West Yorkshire and Kent.

Emma said: ‘It’s quite unbelievable that after seven years Flash is back home with us.

Dog thefts in the UK jumped to a seven-year high of 2,760 last year, the equivalent of eight pets being snatched every day and a 16 per cent rise since 2015. Flash is pictured with Emma's teenage son, Luke

Dog thefts in the UK jumped to a seven-year high of 2,760 last year, the equivalent of eight pets being snatched every day and a 16 per cent rise since 2015. Flash is pictured with Emma’s teenage son, Luke

Emma said: 'Flash was only found because she was microchipped and this case shows how vital it is for owners to get their dogs chipped and keep information updated.'  pictured together

Emma said: ‘Flash was only found because she was microchipped and this case shows how vital it is for owners to get their dogs chipped and keep information updated.’ pictured together

‘At first she just stared at me and my partner, but then the manic tail wagging started and she was jumping all over us.

‘There have thousands and thousands of shared posts by people on social media and I wish I could thank each of you personally.

‘It’s the end of a weird chapter, seven years of living hell not knowing where she was or what had happened, but she’s home now.

‘I would really like to thank Michelle Burrow who bought Flash not knowing she’d been stolen and gave her a loving home for seven months.

‘It was really difficult for her to hand Flash back as they had developed a close bond.

‘If it wasn’t for Michelle we’d still be searching.’

She added: ‘Flash was only found because she was microchipped and this case shows how vital it is for owners to get their dogs chipped and keep information updated.’

In May, data revealed that the price of a puppy dropped by 40 per cent after hitting record highs during the pandemic as families across the country rushed to get lockdown companions.

The puppy mania fueled by multiple Covid lockdowns in the UK drove average prices up to £2,237 last year but the demand for puppies has started to recede, according to figures from pet experts Pets4Homes.

One of the main reasons for the drop in price is the surge in the number of hobby breeders who are meeting the demand, fueled by people now working from home and having more time to tend to litters, Pets4Homes found.

The average price between January and April this year has fallen by almost £1,000 and now sits at £1,329 as the country returns to normal following months of strict Covid measures, while the price of cats has declined by just 20 per cent.

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