South East Wales

Cardiff family devastated after dog snatched in park

Image caption Rocco was snatched on 1 March in Pontcanna Fields in Cardiff

A devastated dog owner has told how her treasured pet was snatched while she was out walking him in a Cardiff park.

Shelley, who refused to give her surname for fear of reprisals from the thief, was in Pontcanna Fields when 13-month-old Rocco was taken on 1 March.

She now fears the Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross could be sold on and is offering a reward for his safe return.

A Facebook page to help find Rocco has had 20,000 hits. Police are investigating the theft.

Shelley said the man who snatched her dog was aged in his 30s.

'Suggestive and rude'

She said Rocco was playing with a ball and walked over to the man with it in his mouth. He picked up the ball and started throwing it for the dog.

Shelley says she told the man to leave them alone but he started running with the ball and Rocco followed.

She shouted but the thief, who was wearing dark clothing, ignored her. When she set off in pursuit he picked the dog up and ran off towards Western Avenue in the direction of Gabalfa.

"Rocco is very friendly and offered his ball to the man who started shouting over to me. He was suggestive and rude," said mother-of-one Shelley.

"I ignored him and my dog ran over to him again and the man threw the ball and Rocco chased after it.

"I phoned the police and they've been great but we haven't been able to find Rocco.

'Hardly slept'

Image copyright Shelley Redding
Image caption Rocco is 13 months old

"I've started a Facebook page to try and help find him and I've put posters up in the area, contacted vets, dog shelters and animal charities from Swansea through to Newport but they haven't seen Rocco either.

"I've hardly slept since last Saturday and we are searching day and night. I've been out in the night to try and locate him.

"I've paid for 5,000 leaflets to be distributed across Cardiff and I'm offering a reward."

She said since Monday her Facebook page had been seen by 20,000 people.

"I had a lady from the US who gave me some advice, and people in Europe have been in contact too. I'm very grateful for all the support I've received," said Shelley.

"Rocco is an extremely friendly dog and adores everybody and everything and thinks everybody's a friend. He's a real advocate for the bull terrier breeds.

"He's no good to anyone but us. We love him and we want him back."

Shelley believes CCTV in the area could hold vital clues to track down the thief.

South Wales Police say they are investigating the theft and inquiries are continuing.

Meanwhile, North Wales Police are appealing for witnesses after thieves stole five dogs from Betws Garmon, near Beddgelert, Gwynedd.

In a separate incident a sheepdog was taken from nearby Waunfawr.

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