A Borders dog-owner is warning owners to be vigilant after a woman tried to make off with his miniature dachshund in Kelso.
Dale Gifford was walking his two-year-old sausage dog Oscar by the River Tweed near the Mayfield Garden Centre in Glebe Lane last Wednesday, February 21, when a woman wearing brown sunglasses seized him, claiming he was hers.
“I took my dog and a friend’s labrador, Lacey, down to the water by the garden centre,” explained the 26-year-old hospitality manager, of Mossburnford, near Jedburgh.
“Lacey tends to dive into the water, so I had her on a lead. She stopped for the toilet, and Oscar kept walking round the corner.
“I cleaned up after Lacey and went round the corner just in time to see a lady trying to pick Oscar up. I told her he didn’t like being picked up, but she said he was her dog.
“I kept saying ‘he’s my dog, he’s got my collar on and he’s microchipped’.
“She only stopped when I said I was going to call 999.”
Dale said the woman was in her 30s and had curly brown hair. She was wearing a black jacket, black boots and brown sunglasses.
“She had a chain lead coming out of her pocket, which I thought was strange because she didn’t have a dog,” said Dale.
“She just walked away. I was thinking if I kept on walking would I bump into someone else who was going to try and take my dog?”
Dale is now warning fellow owners to be vigilant while walking their pets.
“It definitely makes me nervous to let him off the lead,” he admitted. “If I had taken 20 more seconds to come round the corner, that woman could have been off. I would have panicked. I would have thought Oscar was in the river.
“I have read about people trying to steal dogs – I saw on Facebook that there was a similar incident at Dalkeith recently – but I never expected it here.
“I’ve walked there multiple times. I’d only been out of the car for five minutes, and it was broad daylight. The police said it could have been someone with mental health issues, but it didn’t seem like that.”
A spokesperson for Police Scotland said: “Police in the Borders received a report that a woman had incorrectly claimed that a dog being walked in the Mayfield area of Kelso on the afternoon of February 21 was hers.”
She added that there had been no attempt to physically take the dog and that no other similar incidents had been reported locally.