Officers return Ollie the cocker spaniel to his owners in heartwarming reunion
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Officers from Heathfield’s Rural Crime Team have secured a heartwarming reunion by returning Ollie the cocker spaniel to his owners.
Seventeen-month-old Ollie was stolen from Broad Oak Kennels in Udimore Road, Rye, in the early hours of Thursday, March 31, sparking a police investigation and huge ‘doghunt’ across social media.
An extensive search was carried out, including the proactive arrest of a suspect by neighbourhood response officers in Hastings who was later released with no further action.
But at around 7am on Thursday (April 7), the owner of a house in Brands Hatch, Kent, heard a scratching and whining at their back door – coming from a small, tan-coloured cocker spaniel.
The quick-thinking rescuer contacted Battersea Dogs Home, who identified Ollie from the numerous online appeals. They got in touch with the owners, who contacted us, and our officers were up there in a flash.
Sure enough, a scan of the dog’s microchip revealed it was Ollie and he was returned to his ecstatic owners Mark and Paula.
Mark said: “This week has been the worst nightmare of my life. Ollie was bought as a therapy dog for my wife and him going missing absolutely destroyed her – she hadn’t stopped crying since last Thursday.
“Now she’s like a changed woman! Yesterday she’s happy, bubbly, we may even have polished off a couple of bottles of wine. And thankfully Ollie’s fine – probably a bit shell-shocked – but no injuries.
“I’d just like to say thank you to everyone involved. All the appeals on social media, everyone who shared them and the police for their investigation – I know how much they’ve been doing behind the scenes.”
Sergeant Jon Attfield, of Heathfield’s Rural Crime Team, said: “Myself and PC Zoe King were delighted to be able to reunite Ollie with Mark and Paula, who have been so supportive in what has been a horrific week for them.
“It’s highly likely that Ollie’s captors have been forced to release him after a combination of extensive social media coverage and proactive work by officers from multiple policing teams simply made him too hot to handle. Luckily, Ollie has then had the good sense to make his way into someone’s back garden.
“The moment we saw Ollie in Brands Hatch we knew it was him, and it was such a pleasure to see him happy and healthy back at home.
“I’d like to thank everybody who shared appeals for information and all the people who supported this investigation.”