Northern Ireland

West Belfast: Man gets '£200 ransom demand' for missing pet dog

Tiny Image copyright Stephen Flynn
Image caption Stephen Flynn's dog, Tiny, disappeared on New Year's Eve - he said his family was asked to pay £200 to get her back

A dog lover whose pet went missing has received a bizarre ransom demand.

"Pay us £200 and you can have your dog back," Stephen Flynn, 22, from west Belfast was told.

Tiny, a three-year-old Staffordshire terrier, disappeared from her Lagmore home early on New Year's Day.

Stephen was distraught. But he has now heard that the dog has been spotted on the Falls Road - no ransom was paid. "I just hope she is all right," he said.

He initially feared she had been grabbed by a gang who were into dog fighting. But on Monday, as the Belfast Telegraph reports, he received a ransom demand.

Mr Flynn had been out with friends on New Year's Eve and had returned home with them. They were drinking and listening to music in the garden shed in Lagmore early on 1 January.

They were going into the house and back, getting food, but did not notice anything.

'Friendliest dog'

"I know she was still here at 2am and I know that she was gone by 5am, so obviously somebody came and took her during those hours," he told the BBC.

"We were listening to music. It wasn't too loud, but obviously loud enough that we didn't hear anyone sneaking into the garden and going into the house."

He has had the same family of dogs for three generations.

He described Tiny as the "friendliest" dog who would "run to anyone to have her back scratched".

He is now waiting to be re-united with her.

A police spokesman confirmed that the theft of the dog had been reported. He said inquiries were ongoing.

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