Cambridgeshire

Puppy found after months hunting rabbits near Cambridge

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Media captionCambridge puppy captured after 15 months in the wild

An escaped puppy that went missing has been found after surviving in the wild for more than a year.

Pointer cross Rio was 10 months old when he slipped out of his harness on a walk near Cambridge in January 2018.

After some initial sightings, he was not spotted again until March this year.

He was finally caught this week, and is thought to have "lived off rabbits" at a former landfill site. He is now at a rescue centre, hoping for a new home.

Animal charity Canine Capture UK led the search for Rio, posting photos of sightings to a dedicated Facebook page.

It warned people not to approach him since he had "been living feral for more than a year" and was close to two busy roads.

Image copyright Canine Capture
Image caption Rio was fending for himself, living in the wild

Dog lover Kerry Linsey volunteered to set up a food station nearby in an attempt to befriend Rio - who she would see "running about, sometimes with a rabbit in his mouth.

Image copyright Duncan's Dog Co.
Image caption Rio was just a pup when he went missing in January 2018

"Gradually he got used to me, and began to wait for me to arrive with cocktail sausages and other food," she said.

A trap was set with food inside, monitored by a camera, and Rio was finally caught on Monday.

'Beautiful dog'

"Although we are not 100% certain, it is likely that Rio has been living in the same area all this time, fending for himself and undoubtedly living off rabbits," she said.

His former owner has since adopted another dog that does not get on with other animals, so Rio has been returned to a rescue centre in Surrey.

Miss Linsey said he had been checked by a vet and was settling well, remembering how to play with a ball and enjoying his first bath.

"He's such a beautiful dog and we all hope he will find a new home very soon," she said.

Image copyright Kerry Linsey
Image caption Rio gradually came to trust his feeder and would wait for her to arrive

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Image copyright Canine Capture
Image caption Over several days Rio learned to go inside the cage for his food

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