A Highland family has been left “heartbroken” after their two dogs were snatched by “ruthless” thieves in the middle of the night.
Torben and Laura Meilandt Jessen realised their two springer spaniels, Maggie and Trigger, were taken away from their home in the outskirts of Kingussie on Monday.
The two pooches are believed to have been stolen in the middle of the night between 8pm on Sunday and 7.30am the following day.
Living in a quiet area where dog thefts are not a usual occurrence, Mr Jessen has always felt safe leaving the kennels unlocked overnight – as both his dogs would never go far from the house even when running outside.
But when he saw that they were nowhere near to be seen on Monday morning, he immediately knew they have been stolen from their property.
“When I saw the doors of the kennels open on Monday morning, my first thought was that I had just forgotten to close them the previous night,” he said.
“But anytime I do, both my dogs always come running into the house – they never go far when they are running out and about, and their food was still there, so that’s when I realised they have been stolen.
“Their kennels are about 60-70 yards away from the A9 and I could follow a track on the grass from the motorway to them, so someone has obviously walked to our house during the night.
“It’s not something that happens often in the area or that I could have expected, so I never usually lock them the kennels, but that would probably have to change now as in the last day another two dogs from nearby were stolen.”
Police appeal for information
Police in the Highlands have now urged anyone with further information to come forward and help find the stolen dogs to reunite them with their family.
One of the dogs, 11-year-old Maggie, is with a white coloured body, a docked tail and liver brown colouring on her head and ears.
The other one, 3-year-old Trigger, has been described as mostly white with black coloured head and ears, and a black patch by the tail.
Although both Maggie and Trigger have been raised as work dogs to support Mr Jessen in his job as a gamekeeper, they have always been an integral part of the family.
He said the hardest thing for him in the past three days has been seeing his two “heartbroken” children – seven-year-old Holly and six-year-old Liam.
“The worst thing is seeing how sad my kids are – that’s probably harder than losing the dogs,” he added.
“They are heartbroken and you hear many dogs being stolen, but you don’t hear about many being found.
‘They are part of the family’
“They are working dogs, but they are still part of the family and of course all of us are close with them.
“Whoever did this is just ruthless and of course has done it only for the money.
“For them the dogs might be just another tool, but what they don’t realise is that they’ve ripped apart a family when they took them away.
“I would hate for them to be sitting in a shed somewhere tied up and I’m trying to reassure my kids that wherever they are, they will be looked after, but we are not going to give up and remain hopeful we are going to get them back.”
Anybody with information about the theft is urged to get in touch with police on 101 quoting incident number 0728 of July 12 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.