A woman from Ashton-in-Makerfield said she is being threatened by people claiming to have her two dogs which were stolen from her farm last week. Jack Russell-Yorkshire terrier mix breeds Mopsy and Scrappy were stolen from Katie Shakeshaft’s farm on Camp Road in Garswood, near Wigan, last Wednesday afternoon (April 13).
Since then, she has received anonymous phone calls from people threatening to ‘slice their throats’ if she doesn’t pay a £1,000 ransom for their safe return. “We were on the farm all morning while we were seeing to the animals,” Katie told the Manchester Evening News. “I put the dogs in a house lorry, which has a living area, while I nipped out to the shops with my mum. When I got back two hours later, they were both gone.”
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Katie, who described the three-year-old and five-year-old dogs as ‘like family’ to her, said the threatening phone calls began later that day after she posted a missing dogs appeal on Facebook. “I’ve had numerous phone calls from different people,” she said. I’ve had people telling me I’ll never see my dogs again, or demanding money.
“I was told that if I don’t pay £1,000 then they will slice their throats and throw them into the canal. It’s absolutely sickening. It’s causing me so much pain, it’s really concerning.”
The following day, Katie left the farm for a walk to see if she could find the dogs herself. When she returned an hour later, a number of her boyfriend’s tools – worth around £1,000 – were stolen from the site. She says the incident has made her ‘scared for her life de ella’.
“They must have waited until I left and then they came back to steal something else because I was only gone for like an hour,” Katie explains. “They must have watched me leave and then stolen a grand’s worth of tools. We’ve not left the yard ever since we’re scared about what will happen next.
“I’ve not really slept properly for six days. Every noise causes me to look around. I’m just very anxious and I’m actually at the point now where I’m just really angry about it. I just want my dogs back. I’m mentally exhausted and drained from it all. I don’t feel safe at all.”
Katie says she has no idea who has taken the dogs or why, but hopes they will be returned to her soon. “I don’t have a clue why someone is doing this to me, but it’s absolutely getting out of hand,” Katie added.
“I don’t know if these people calling me are doing it as a prank or not. But it’s stressing me out and upsetting me. For all I know, they could actually have my dogs.”
Merseyside Police are investigating the incident. A spokesperson told the MEN: “We were called to a report of the theft of two dogs in Ashton-in-Makerfield on Wednesday 13 April. It was reported that two Yorkshire Terriers were taken from the horse box of a property on Camp Road between 1 and 3pm.”
People have been asked to keep an eye out for the terrier cross tricolor dogs both in the area and online for sale. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to DM @MerPolCC or @CrimestoppersUK anonymously on 0800 555 111 quoting log 349.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.