Nipper, the little Jack Russell who was taken from Eastbourne and found in Rochester, is recovering after his ordeal.
He was taken by a mystery man in a van close to ASDA on the A259 more than a week ago but ended up in Rochester wandering the street and was taken in to the RSPCA.
He had been tied up with a dirty rope, was flea ridden, dehydrated, had lost a lot of weight and his tail had been tied with a cable to dock him.
Nipper is now recovering at home with his owners Wendy and Gary Roche in Polegate after being treated by vets.
Melissa Hispanioliss from the online group set up the find Nipper, Make Nipper Too Hot To Handle, said, “Unfortunately we will never know truly what happened to this little fella.
“What I can say is that he was taken by an opportunist thief and ended up in Rochester where he was found walking the streets this morning by someone who thankfully took him into the local RSPCA aware of who he was thanks to everyone sharing.
“He had been tied up with dirty rope and a cable tie had been put on his tail to ‘dock’ him. He is flea ridden, dehydrated and has lost a lot of weight. We don’t know whether he was dumped for being too hot to handle or whether he escaped.
“The vet said the cable tie had been on since he was abducted and would have caused a lot of pain. He was not himself and was at the vets being ‘treated like a king’ and rehydrated until he could have an operation to fully amputate his tail. “Please everyone be aware how rife this dog theft is and be vigilant.”
A major online campaign was launched by friends and family appealing for the much loved pet to be returned.
He had last been seen on Sunday June 28 on Pevensey Bay Road outside ASDA opposite Kingsmere after getting out of a garden.
It is believed he was taken by a balding man in his 40s who was driving a white or silver van with writing on the side.
He told passers by he was taking Nipper to a vet as he had details on his collar.
But the little dog disappeared and particularly hit Gary hard as he suffered a brain injury and Nipper is his constant companion.
The family also has another dog called Smudge who was pining for Nipper.
The online campaign was called Make Nipper too Hot to Handle.
Wendy, the mother of Eastbourne DJ Ryan Milnes, said, “A man in a Citroen Berlingo van was seen grabbing Nipper and that was the last time he was seen. The balding man told passers by he was taking Nipper to the vets but the vets or us have had no contact at all.”
After Nipper was found, Wendy said, “We are not sure whether the thief handed him in or someone who was sold the dog handed him in but we want to thank everyone who helped find him and made him too hot to handle.”
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