Picture credit -Northern Echo

Rachel Soley, 41 was walking her dog Wooly on Salters Lane South in Darlington, County Durham at 10:40pm on 29th January when she became aware of two guys.

Rachel said “one of them started to walk over the road. They said to me ‘give me your dog’. I swore at them.” in her report in the Northern Echo

“They then tried to take the lead off my hand. I kicked him in the shin.

Rachel was then able to pick her dog up and run away .

Inspector Dean Haythornthwaite, from Darlington Neighbourhood Police Team, said: “This would have been a very frightening incident for the woman, and we are working hard to trace the perpetrators.

“I would like to reassure residents that incidents like this are extremely rare in Darlington, with only seven dog theft incidents reported in 2020. In the vast majority of these incidents, the thefts or attempted thefts took place when the dog was in a garden, rather than while out on a walk.

David Gray, director at Petpals Darlington & Yarm who is a member of DOGwatch, added: “Thankfully these incidents are still incredibly rare. Sadly, everyone who owns a dog needs to be aware that their much-loved pet only has a financial value to these criminals, so it makes perfect sense to take a few simple steps to ensure they are kept safe.”

Find Secure Dog Walking Fields within 50 miles of Darlington here