Missing dogs case investigated by police

Pablo and Maggie Image copyright Becky Parsons
Image caption Ms Parsons's dogs Pablo and Maggie disappeared while left with the sitter

The mystery disappearance of a "number of dogs" while being walked by a sitter has come under the focus of police investigating whether any crime was committed.

It is claimed at least five dogs vanished during their walk in woods in Staffordshire on Sunday.

According to one owner, the Birmingham-based sitter said her two dogs had "run off" after being frightened by a noise.

But that version of events is being contested.

West Midlands Police says it is now trying to work out exactly what happened.

Becky Parsons, from Erdington, Birmingham, left pets Pablo and Maggie in the sitter's care while on holiday, and said: "It's my worst nightmare. They're my world."

She said she had used the sitter three times previously without a problem.

"There was no indication that anything bad would happen while [the dogs were] in her care."

Ms Parsons said she understood there were at least five dogs that disappeared - nearly all of which were pugs.

Image copyright Owner/Becky Parsons
Image caption Pugs Ralph and Charlie were part of the group of dogs that vanished

Ms Parsons said the sitter told her she had been walking the dogs along a towpath at Hopwas Woods near Tamworth when she heard a loud bang and fell over.

The dogs bolted, according to the explanation, and when the sitter got back up, they were nowhere to be seen.

"But my friend's dog has got something wrong with its paws and he can't even run so I don't think this story is credible," Ms Parsons said.

West Midlands Police says it "is aware that a number of dogs have gone missing while under the care of a dog sitter based in the Birmingham area".

A spokesperson said inquiries were on-going to determine "whether any criminal offences have taken place".

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