A dog has been reunited with her owner thanks to the use of social media, the work of a Safer Neighbourhoods Team and the local community.
Cookie - a six-month-old Staffordshire mastiff American Bulldog cross - was taken from her home address in Neptune Walk, Erith on Wednesday 14 May. Her owner, June Gosling, had left Cookie inside the house at 9am and when she returned at 2pm she noticed that a ground floor window was wide open and Cookie was missing.
Police were called and officers attended to take a statement. Following this the owner posted an appeal on Facebook for anyone who had seen Cookie to contact her.
She received several messages saying that a dog matching Cookie's description was seen around Picardy Street, Belvedere.
This was followed up by Belvedere Safer Neighbourhood Team officers with residents coming forward saying they had seen a man in that area walking the dog.
The following day Tuesday (20th May) at approximately 1pm the officers were on a crime prevention stall at Picardy Street, Belvedere when a man walked past with a dog that looked like Cookie.
He was stopped and spoken to. The dog he was in possession of was taken to a local vet by the officers and as the dog was microchippped when it was scanned, it revealed the dog was Cookie.
The man, 23 years, was arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods. He is currently on bail whilst police continue with their investigation.
The dog was immediately returned to her family, who were thrilled to be reunited with her.
June Gosling, Cookie's owner, said: "I am over the moon to be reunited with my baby Cookie - she is family too me, it was like loosing a child. "It was the worst week of my life and I had almost given up hope but thanks to some wonderful members of the public, Facebook and the police, in particular PCSO Jay Worrall, I have my puppy back I couldn't be more happy. "Being reunited with her was an incredible relief - I won't be letting her out of my sight!"
Acting Sergeant Chris Molnar, from Belvedere Safer Neighbourhoods Team, said: "This is a lovely story that shows that social media, when used correctly, can give us huge assistance with investigating an allegation of crime.
"The initiative shown by the owner, residents and then officers who immediately followed it up has ensured that Cookie has returned home where she belongs.
"What this case also demonstrates is just how important micro-chipping your dog can be as we were able to immediately identify that it was Cookie. From the 6 April 2016 the law is changing and people who keep dogs as pets must have them micro-chipped and this highlights just how beneficial it will be."
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