Daily Mail - 01.08.2019

(Jacob Rumans) #1

Daily Mail, Thursday, August 1, 2019 Page 17

Where are our dogs?

Police search for

five pets amid

fears they died

in care of sitter

A DOG-sitter who told clients their
five pets had run off during a walk is
at the centre of a police investigation
amid claims the animals are dead.
Louise Lawford, 47, was yesterday
accused of giving the distraught owners
‘false hope’ after insisting their dogs
vanished in woods six weeks ago after
being spooked by gunshots.
But one, Becky Parsons, said she had been
informed on Monday evening that the animals
had died. The 39-year-old is the owner of pug
Pablo, eight, and Jack Russell-pug cross
Maggie, six.
The other dogs said to be dead are pugs
Charlie, three, and Ralph, five, and French
bulldog Jack, 18 months. In a further twist
yesterday, police said they were investigating if
the discovery of a dead dog on a beach in Hast-
ings, East Sussex, could be connected to the

Five – a reference to the hunt for
two pigs which escaped an abat-
toir in 1998 – after they went miss-
ing near the Staffordshire town.
Miss Parsons said: ‘We were ter-
rified we were going to find them
dead, starved or dehydrated.’
In an earlier Facebook post

aimed at the dog-sitter, she wrote:
‘You let us have false hope. You let
hundreds of people join us in a
desperate search.
‘My heart is shattered. My beau-
tiful irreplaceable babies are never
coming home. It’s taken five weeks

to get the truth. Five weeks of tor-
ture and agony.’
Jack’s owner James Egan, 61,
contacted police 24 hours after
Mrs Lawford called on June 23 to
say his pet had gone missing.
The asbestos removal worker

had left Jack with the dog-sitter in
Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands,
for the first time to take a week-
end break with his wife Liz, 53.
He said: ‘She had a side yard
with a fence around it and a back
room for the dogs as well as a dou-

ble garage, where they slept. It
seemed very professional. There is
a lot of chitter chatter on Face-
book but we are just waiting for
the police to do their work.’
Mr Egan, of Kingstanding, Bir-
mingham, said he had accepted
the explanation when Mrs Law-
ford told him his pet was missing.
But when he found out via Face-
book that four other dogs had also
vanished, he contacted Miss Par-
sons before going to police.
He also got in touch with Ralph
and Charlie’s owner, April Lock,
28, of Streetly, West Midlands. She
said on Tuesday: ‘All we know is
they did die in the dog-sitter’s
care. I am broken. We always had
hope they would come home.’
It has been claimed online that
Mrs Lawford’s pug Freddie had
also died in the mystery incident.
She has taken down her Face-
book page and could not be con-
tacted. A neighbour said the
mother-of-four left her semi-
detached home in February after
the break-up of her marriage but
had still run her business there.
A West Midlands Police spokes-
man said: ‘To date, none of the
pets have been found and we are
still investigating this as an alleged
theft. Owners have not been con-
tacted to say the dogs have died.’

Accused: Louise Lawford told owners the animals ran off after being spooked in woods

Jack: A French bulldog aged 18 months

By Andy Dolan

A third of primary pupils have never visited a butcher’s

‘My beautiful babies are
never coming home’

MANY primary school age children say they
have never visited traditional high street
shops such as the butcher’s or greengro-
cer’s, a survey has found.
Among the five to 11-year-olds surveyed,
nearly a third (32 per cent) said they had
never been to a butcher’s shop, while almost
a quarter (23 per cent) had not visited a

greengrocer. When asked what a high street
is, a quarter did not know. The research by
Nationwide Building Society provides fur-
ther evidence of the decline of the high
street, as families shun old-fashioned busi-
nesses in favour of online shopping and

supermarkets. But nearly three quarters
(72 per cent) of the 2,000 children said they
would prefer to buy in a shop than online.
The reasons given for this were to explore
the items, feeling grown-up and being able
to talk to people. When asked what would
make them go to a high street more often,
the most popular answers were more places

to play and a better choice of shops. And
three per cent would be more tempted if
there were more phone chargers.
Nationwide’s Mandy Beech said: ‘Kids say
the high street gives them the opportunity
to explore and feel grown-up. But they want
more variety and places to play and that
can only come from greater investment.’

By Eleanor Harding Education Editor

Pugs: Ralph, five, and three-year-old Charlie Pablo: An eight-year-old pug Maggie: A Jack Russell-pug cross

Becky Parsons: Said she has
been told they are dead




case. Miss Parsons, of Erdington, Birmingham,
posted on Facebook on behalf of the three
owners. She wrote: ‘We are unable to say where
the confirmation came from or how our loved
ones... died as doing so will potentially jeop-
ardise the investigation and recovery (of the
animals’ bodies).’
Miss Parsons later told a reporter she had
been informed by two non-police sources that
the dogs were dead but refused to elaborate.
The search for the pets featured on social
media when they were dubbed the Tamworth
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