Streamvale to keep dog walkers on short leash after Pepsi's puppy-napping
The power of social media was proven in east Belfast this week when a stolen puppy was reunited with his owners thanks to an online campaign.
Nine-week-old labrador/cocker spaniel crossbreed Pepsi was taken from Streamvale Open Farm in Dundonald on Saturday.
The farm allows visitors to take its puppies for a walk, but one male visitor took advantage of the scheme and walked the dog right off the farm.
News of the stolen puppy quickly reached social media sites facebook and twitter and a campaign to find Pepsi was launched. Farm owner Judith Morrow said "literally hundreds and thousands" of people contacted them online saying there were on the lookout for the pinched pup.
She said she felt "empty" when she discovered the pup had been stolen and not misplaced.
She said that after the social media campaign took off and people kept saying they would look out for the dog, the man who had stolen the dog contacted them saying that he didn't know "what the fuss was about" and that he was going to look after the dog.
He said that because people were so "het up" about it that he would give the dog back.
The family set up a meeting with the man to have the dog returned at a local park – Moat Park.
The dog was returned safe and well, and the Morrows say they will not be pressing charges as they don't want to "make a fuss".
They said the man intended no harm to the animal and just wanted a puppy but thought he couldn't afford one.
Pepsi is now to be re-homed in Belfast with a family who have two small children.
Judith Morrow said that the service of allowing people to walk dogs on the farm will be tighter and they will be more careful, but that this is the first instance it has happened and "hopefully the last".