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Found safe and well: Stolen dog Princess returned to Telford kennels from Liverpool

Princess was taken for a walk at Hilbrae Kennels at Cold Hatton by two women who gave a false address and then never returned.

Bosses at the charity said they were beside themselves, with thoughts of the little crossbreed being used as bait for fighting dogs.

But on Sunday they were able to go and pick up Princess, who is now back at home and unhurt.

The search for Princess reached thousands upon thousands of people, with one Facebook post being shared more than 19,000 times alone.

Today, Marty Burrell, owner of Hilbrae, said she was thrilled that Princess was back safe and sound.

This is only the second time in 30 years that a dog has been taken during a walk from Hilbrae.

But now security will be vastly changed at the kennels, with bosses saying they may not be as lucky a third time.

“She’s only a little dog, but she’s a life,” Marty said. “She was important to us.

“The staff have been in tears, they’ve been anxious, but Princess is absolutely fine.

Proof

“What this will do is that it will change things. We will be treating everybody like suspects. We might not be as lucky a third time.

“The dogs are in our care and there are lots of horrible people out there. We can’t risk it.

“That’s what they’ve done. We still want people to come and walk the dogs, we want the dogs to go out, but it has poisoned it to a degree.”

Now people will have to provide proof of identity before they will be allowed to walk one of the dogs.

Marty said: “Instead of saying ‘off you go and have a walk with the dog’, there will be security. We will be asking for car keys or photographic proof of who you are.”

Staff at Hilbrae thanked those who had provided CCTV footage of the thieves, as well as those who had offered their support through social media.

Dog walking is currently cancelled at Hilbrae due to the coronavirus.

The stray dog system is operating as usual, so if a dog is picked up or brought to the kennels, the owners can still reclaim it.

However if a member of the household is or has been unwell recently, someone else should be sent with proof of ownership.

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