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Family of returned stolen dog urge owners 'never give up on seeing missing pets again'

Ginny was missing from her Shobnall home for a year after she was snatched from the garden

What do you do if your dog goes missing?

The family of a dog stolen and then sold in a sophisticated fraud operation have urged missing animals' owners not to give up hope of being reunited with their pets.

Hannah Denton, from Shobnall, was reunited with her border terrier, Ginny, a year after her disappearance.

She has spoken out after breeder Lucy Guntripp admitted selling the stolen dog.

Ginny was illegally sold on to a woman in Doncaster

Miss Denton suspects Ginny was sold because she had been spayed and therefore could not be used to breed.

Describing the moment she was reunited with her pet, she said: "I was just a mess. You see so many dogs reunited with their owners and you just hope it will be you next. We were in disbelief.

"Never give up hope. We put up adverts everywhere. You do everything you physically can to find them. If your pet is missing, always have hope."

Ginny featured heavily in the Burton Mail after she was snatched from her garden in 2015 and a nationwide campaign was launched to find her.

On New Year’s Day 2016, the bitch was found after a vet scanned her microchip to reveal her true identity.

Her new owner in Doncaster, who had bought the dog from Guntripp for £500 six months previously, had to give her back to Miss Denton.

Miss Denton, 33, said: "It’ll be two years on January 1 since she came home and it has been amazing for us. I am so sad for the woman who bought Ginny but I am comforted that she was really loved.

"We were in contact with the animal welfare officers. They had been going to the farm anyway and then found out about Ginny.

"They already had them on fraudulent behaviour with the identification certificates but couldn’t prove they had sold any dogs until Ginny.

"There wasn’t enough evidence to prove they had stolen any dogs."

Charlie Draycott was reunited with his pet

North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard Guntripp made around £3,000 from selling on dogs with forged papers. They included bogus vaccination certificates signed by her cousin, Kelvin Brown.

He had posed as a registered veterinary surgeon called "Keith Brown", but was rumbled by genuine vets who saw the forged papers.

After several vets reported the forged vaccination cards, animal health officers raided Guntripp’s farm in Stramshall, near Uttoxeter, in February 2016.

The false documents with which Ginny was sold included a breeders’ certificate, vaccination card, ownership papers and Kennel Club registration – all carrying fake name "Red Caro".

Magistrates ruled Guntripp and Brown had "risked the health and well-being" of the puppies they sold and inflicted "high emotional distress" on their victims.

Guntripp, of Trippyhill Farm, in Hollington Lane, pleaded guilty to participating in a fraudulent business.

Brown, of Heathfield Road, Uttoxeter, admitted unlawfully using a practitioner’s title and three charges of making a false document.

Miss Denton said: "It was very shocking to hear what happened. We had been looking for Ginny everywhere but (in the end) she wasn’t too far away. We didn’t go to Uttoxeter.

"It is nice to know what happened that year. To be fair the conditions they were in weren’t too bad.

"Ginny never used to be aggressive, but since she has been back she is more aggressive towards other dogs. We don’t know what happened to her.

"Ginny had been sprayed so couldn’t be used for breeding so I think that is why they sold her."

Hannah Denton and Mark Draycott with their son Charlie and Ginny after they were reunited

Brown, 33, committed the offences while an unrelated suspended sentence was active, the court heard. He will be sent to crown court for sentencing on a date yet to be confirmed.

Guntripp, 20, will be back at North Staffordshire Justice Centre, in Newcastle under Lyme, to be sentenced on Monday, January 8.

Both defendants have been granted unconditional bail until they next appear.

 

Ginny is found

There was huge outcry after a UK-wide appeal was launched to find missing Ginny who was snatched from her heartbroken owner, Hannah Denton.

Ginny went missing at approximately 4.30pm on January 23, 2015, after escaping from the family home.

A neighbour had seen Ginny run across the road before being put in an old red Ford Fiesta which then drove off.

The family launched a campaign to find their pet that touched people across the country.

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However, the family urged owners of missing dogs not to give up hope in finding them when Ginny’s unsuspecting new owner returned the dog to Miss Denton. The vet had scanned the microchip which revealed her true identity.

Hannah Denton, Mark Draycott and their son, Charlie, then nine, from Shobnall, later made the impassioned plea after being reunited with Ginny on New Year's Day 2016 after thinking they had lost her forever.

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