A Blackpool dog owner was reunited with his stolen pet after turning amateur detective to track down the missing mutt.
Gaz Kennedy’s French bulldog puppy Rocco was swiped from his Nethway Avenue home on Saturday night while he and his children slept.
Police were called at around 6.50am the following day, when Gaz, 33, awoke to find his dog, along with his wallet, bank cards and a pair of trainers, missing.
He said: “They took my gym kit out of my bag and I think they have put the dog in the bag.
“My driving licence and card have been handed in at Bispham. They have used my card in Sainsbury’s in Blackpool so I’m hoping that police can go and check the CCTV.
“I don’t know whether they have targeted us or if they have just noticed the dog and snatched him too.”
I’ve been very lucky but some people never see their pets again. Once I found out he was in Liverpool I thought ‘that’s it, I’m not getting him back’
Vowing never to give up on finding his 16-week-old pet, Gaz took matters into his own hands and appealed for help online.
A Facebook post featuring pictures of Rocco was ‘shared’ more than 28,000 times, and soon enough, Gaz says he was contacted by a person who believed they knew where the dog was being held.
A Facebook message was shared showed a woman holding a French bulldog, which Gaz instantly recognised as Rocco.
The poster asked Gaz: “Is this the dog that was stolen from you?”
Other messages identified the woman and gave her address to Gaz, who passed it on to the police.
As a result, police were called at around 8.30pm on Tuesday to a house on Livingstone Road, Blackpool, where a 49-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods.
However, Rocco was not found at the address.
But Facebook came to his aid once more when messages were posted claiming Rocco was now in Liverpool.
One message shared to Gaz said: “We’ve heard a lad in Liverpool has bought your dog.”
Another was able to provide an address of Rocco’s new owner, as the message continued to be shared across social media.
Gaz, a plasterer and single dad-of -two, said: “I was starting to worry and was a bit lost because it seemed like he was getting further and further away.
“He’s a brilliant, lovable dog.” Gaz continued to appeal for help online, speaking with people who believed they may have seen Rocco.
Eventually he was given an address in Liverpool where Rocco was believed to be living.
After a pal travelled to Merseyside to collect Rocco, the pair were reunited on Thursday.
The man gave the dog back, when he heard Rocco had been stolen.
Now Gaz has thanked everyone who helped him on social media. He said: “He ended up being sold to a lad in Liverpool. I couldn’t believe it.
“It was all down to footwork from the public and close friends.
“It’s been stressful but I’m just glad its finally over and that he’s turned up. I’m very relieved.
“I couldn’t wait for him to come home and for the kids to see him.
“My two-year-old keeps asking where he is - I just said he was at the ‘doggy hospital’.”
He added: “I hope people will think twice before stealing people’s dogs.
“A lot of people have dogs and they mean an awful lot to them.
“I’ve been very lucky but some people never see their pets again. Once I found out he was in Liverpool I thought ‘that’s it, I’m not getting him back’.
“Now we’re having a little party to celebrate him coming back. I’m over the moon.”