Owner locked in van while dog, cash stolen

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THE owner of Millvale Animal Sanctuary said she has been left shocked and frightened after being locked in the back of a van while one of her dogs and almost £300 in cash was stolen.

Sharon Quinn, a welfare officer at the sanctuary in Ballyward, had been in the back of the van last Wednesday evening preparing food for the dogs when she heard the door close behind her. She was then trapped in the van while the front window was broken and a handbag containing cash and cards were taken along with a 14-year-old female rottweiler.

Sharon, who fortunately had the keys in her pocket and was able to escape, said it is the fifth dog to be taken from the grounds of the sanctuary since the beginning of the New Year. The widow, who looks after animals including cows, dogs, cats and even turkeys, said she is worried about the dog and keen to get it back.

“She is old and vulnerable,” said Sharon. “She has been with us for nine years and I am very worried about her. She wouldn’t hurt a fly and I can’t see why nayone else would take her.”

Sharon said it is the latest in a series of thefts from the sanctuary. “A lot of older dogs have been stolen from the sanctuary recently. They are the oldest and most vulnerable ones.”

Sharon’s friend Caroline Miskimmin, said the welfare officer deserves praise for the work she does. “She really does all the work herself,” said Caroline. “She rescues animals form all over the place. She’s just a genuinely good person and for this to happen is awful.”

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Banbridge Police Station on 0845 600 8000. Or if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.