Dog thefts devastate animal-loving duo

Coleen Hills with her animals after two of her dogs were stolen from her farm over the last month. GM023928
Coleen Hills with her animals after two of her dogs were stolen from her farm over the last month. GM023928

A FAMILY has been left in shock after their beloved dog was stolen.

And they are also concerned for the welfare of a rescued animal which recently joined them, as it has also been taken by thieves.

Veela, a 10-year-old German wirehaired pointer, was purchased by Robin Hills for his mother Coleen’s 50th birthday. The dog is currently in ill health.

She was stolen earlier this month – the weekend of October 5 and 6 – from their farm, which is located between Morpeth and Longhorsley. A male collie rescued by the RSPCA was taken on Wednesday, October 16.

Mr Hills said: “Veela is often by my mam’s side and we love her to bits.

“She does chase hares and she has been used to round up sheep, even though the breed is not normally known for doing that, but she is not one to wander off.

“It’s absolutely appalling that someone would steal her and we’re very upset that she is gone.

“The German wirehaired pointer is not a common breed in the region and the only others that have been spotted were her sons and daughters.

“I’ve contacted all the vets in the area and put her photo on Facebook, so hopefully someone will have seen her and will get in touch with the police.

“We’re also worried about the collie because he has suffered in the past and we don’t want him to go through something similar again.

“I would urge farm owners around Morpeth to be careful as we don’t want any more dogs to be stolen.”

The veterinary practice manager, who has previously lived in Longhirst, took in unwanted animals from a young age and he now also cares for rescued animals.

He used to be a volunteer at The Sanctuary Wildlife Care Centre in Ulgham.

As well as cats, dogs, horses and a range of birds, the animals he has looked after include snakes, geese, frogs, spiders, chipmunks, rabbits, ducks, pigs, goats, a baby fox, tortoises, lizards, sheep and chickens.

Mr Hills is planning to open his own sanctuary next year. Features include a bird hospital and a special classroom for school pupils.

“I have always had a fascination with animals,” he said.

“As I grew older, I built up a collection of unwanted animals and I used to do part-time work in a pub and at a chicken farm so I could have enough money to care for them.

“We have a good range of animals on the farm and I’m excited about my sanctuary initiative.

“It won’t be an attraction, it will be a place where groups of schoolchildren come to learn more about animals and how humans look after them.

“I have lots of fund-raising ideas to get the charity up and running if everything gets approved and I’m looking to provide activities such as bird-box making and tree planting.”

Anyone with information about the thefts, or the current whereabouts of the dogs, should call police on 101, extension 69191 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.