St Albans woman’s relief after return of missing dog Max

Max, one week after being reunited with his ecstatic owners in Colney Heath

Max, one week after being reunited with his ecstatic owners in Colney Heath - Credit: Photo supplied

A substantial reward has been paid to secure the safe return of a treasured dog which was stolen from a teenager during a mugging almost four months ago.

The ecstatic owner of Max, a two year old brown and white Shih Tzu crossed with a Cavalier King Charles, has told the Herts Advertiser about the lengthy negotiations that took place prior to her pet’s return to his Colney Heath home.

Her 16-year-old son had been walking Max along Hall Gardens on September 10 when his mobile was stolen during a mugging.

When the thief got caught in the dog’s lead he picked up Max and took him too.

Following several appeals from Herts Police for help in tracking him down, an anonymous donor offered a £1,000 reward for the return of the beloved dog.

For three long - and stressful - months there was no news of his whereabouts, but that suddenly changed on December 27.

Max’s owner, who does not want her name published, said: “I was watching telly when a got a phone call from the Stolen and Stray Pet Recovery charity saying they believed they had been sent a photo of him.

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“They forwarded it to me and straight away I knew it was Max.”

After a sleepless night, and feeling apprehensive and nauseous about the reunion for fear something might go wrong, the woman met the man who had Max the following day.

She said: “As soon as he was let out of the cage, he knew it was me - Max went nuts and didn’t want to go back to the man.”

A woman who accompanied her handed over the reward.

Max’s owner said: “If it hadn’t been for the person who donated the money, I wouldn’t have got him back. The man was pushing for more money.”

She discovered that her pet had lost two kilos, which he has regained since coming home.

Max’s owner said that he has quickly returned to his usual routine, explaining: “After I feed him in the morning and before I go to work, I take three biscuits out and Max takes one, puts it on the carpet, and returns for the others before sitting down and eating them all.”

She said that her son was “absolutely elated” to see their pet again.

The woman issued a warning to other pet owners in the district, saying, “be very careful of where you are walking your dog and be aware of who is around you and your surroundings. If you do let your dog off the lead, make sure it has good recall.”

Stephanie Kent-Nye, spokeswoman for Stolen and Stray Pet Recovery, which negotiated Max’s return, said she was unable to go into the details of his recovery but he had been living in a different county.

She said: “He was in a reasonable condition, but he definitely hadn’t been pampered. There was a very good Facebook campaign to help find him, and we were sent an image which helped lead us to Max.”

Investigating officer Detective Constable Stuart Bence said: “We would still like to identify the person responsible for the robbery.”

Anyone with information can call the non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111