Liz Swain, 55, placed an online ad for the sale of 3 pugs, each worth £1,500. She lives with her family in Avergavenny, South Wales.
Martin Stokes aged 47 and his son Thomas aged 23, saw the advert for the three pedigree pug pups, and decided to travel from East Midlands to Ms. Swain’s home.
The two men posed as buyers, attacked Liz, and fled with one of her dogs. Ms. Swain, 55, was punched in the face and the muggers left her bleeding on the floor. She was hospitalized for minor head injuries.
Two of her pups managed to escape behind a sofa to escape the clutches of the two burly men.
A couple of days later, the dog was found by police 100 miles from the scene.
Ms. Swain told police the father and son had been welcomed into her home to view her three puppies, after replying to an online advertisement for their sale.
The shaken dog owner said at the time: ‘It was terrible. My poor dog has gone and I’m still shaking. I’ve never known anything like it. I was terrified.’
Her son Justin, 35, added: ‘They punched her several times and stole three of her babies. ‘Mum tried to put up a fight but lost to two grown men, the cowards left her in a right mess.’
Current Designer Dog Trend Fuels An Illegal Pug Trade
Bulldogs and Pugs make up 70% of thousands of puppies that are smuggled into the UK each year (The Dogs Trust).
Since licensed breeders cannot meet the huge demand for short-nosed breeds in Britain, eastern European smugglers “stepping up to the plate.” It is a lucrative opportunity. These dogs sell for up to £3,500 each.
Puppies as young as eight weeks old are being hauled across the continent with fake pet passports. Many endure journeys of more than 40 hours from Hungary, Lithuania and Romania.
The Dogs Trust said that 130 smuggled puppies have been seized by officials at Dover and Folkestone since December – but thousands make it through to the UK.
According to Paula Boyden, veterinary director of The Dogs Trust, the conditions under which these dogs are bred – which can include sibling interbreeding – are ‘shocking’.
One issue is dogs that are taken from their mothers at too young an age often face significant health problems down the line. These may lead to expensive vet bills and quarantine costs for owners. This in turn leads some dog owners to eventually “dump” the dogs when they cannot afford the cost.
The Sun reports that dog theft across the UK is skyrocketing, with approximately 2,000 dogs stolen every year. Few are ever found.
The pug is the fourth most stolen dog in the UK, trailing the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Jack Russell, and Chihuahua.
The dognappers are facing jail for robbing a mother in her own home for her prized pug puppies
The pair changed their plea at Cardiff Crown Court with Stoke Snr pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice, and Stokes Jr pleading guilty to theft and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Judge Patrick Curran QC adjourned sentencing the two men to allow for a pre-sentence report, and warned they could receive immediate jail terms.
Stokes Snr, from Mansfield, Notts, and Stokes Jr, from Chesterfield, Derbyshire, were bailed until their sentencing later this month.
Vet explains why dog thefts have risen more than 22% in two years