Stolen spaniel's owners relieved and delighted as Facebook page helps to bring pet back home
A four-month-old cocker spaniel puppy has been returned to her loving owners after she was snatched from her back garden - thanks to the power of social media.
Four-month-old Holly, a Blue Roan cocker spaniel, had been living in her new home in Aghalee for just two months when she was taken on Saturday.
Her owner Claire Sedgeman (33) said it was a frightening ordeal when four men stopped their car around the corner from their country home shortly after 3.30pm before driving away with the puppy.
Ms Sedgeman, an equestrian coach who has four other dogs, was in a nearby forest riding her horse when her new puppy was taken.
"My partner Chris, his sister and her boyfriend were at the house and were outside in the back garden.
"We live down a lane near a towpath where people go to fish and walk in Aghalee. There's always a lot of cars going past and our two Jack Russells and Holly were running about.
"The next thing Chris' sister noticed a car had stopped around the corner. They started to call the dogs in and next thing the car took off and they realised the puppy had been taken."
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Ms Sedgeman was on her way back home when she got a phone call with the bad news that Holly was missing.
"By that point they'd already called the police.
"I put up a post on Facebook saying that she was gone and all my friends shared it. It got almost the full way around Northern Ireland."
The police arrived at her home to take a statement and within a few hours Ms Sedgeman had received a call from the Facebook page 'Pets Lost and Found'.
A woman had found Holly while she was out walking in Lurgan, and thinking the puppy was lost decided to bring her home and contact the Facebook page.
"We went and picked her up in Lurgan. If Holly was out, she would probably have looked lost and wouldn't be used to not having the other dogs with her."
Ms Sedgeman said that she's extremely relieved the puppy, who was a present to her partner from his grandparents, was recovered.
She said she believes her job in the horse industry with other animal lovers was one of the reasons behind why so many of her Facebook friends shared the post.
"My partner's sister is a beautician and all of her friends and clients shared it. It eventually got more than ten-and-a-half thousand shares.
"I think that's the only reason we were lucky enough to get her back."
The police are going to continue to pursue the case, said Ms Sedgeman, and told her they thought that the theft was opportunistic.
"The four men in the car might have just thought they could make a quick penny - if they were an organised gang, we might not have gotten her back," she said.
Holly is still in perfect condition following her ordeal.
"The breeders came round today because they were so concerned, having seen it all," her owner said.
"She seems to be fine and is here playing with my mum's dogs, so she doesn't seem to be any worse the wear for it."