An anonymous benefactor has stepped in to bump up a reward being offered by a Borders family for the return of their two missing dogs to £10,000.
Edward Bell and wife Georgie originally offered a £1,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of their border terrier bitches Ruby and Beetle, suspected to have been snatched during a hunt on the Lothian Estate at Jedburgh on Friday, December 28.
That figure was increased to £5,000 at the turn of the year, and last month, with financial support pouring in from all parts of the country, it was increased to £7,500.
Bumping it up to £10,000 makes it one of the highest rewards ever offered for a missing dog or dogs in the UK, and the Bells and their three children are hoping that, over three months on, money will finally talk.
Georgie, 45, of Jedburgh, said: “An anonymous benefactor came forward and deposited the money in my bank account, but it’s only there until July 1, and then if no one comes forward to claim it and brings our dogs back, I have to return it to her.
“This woman insisted that she wanted to put the money in my bank account. Obviously, I don’t know her, but she still wants to help me and my family after watching the campaign unfold online.”
Reports of sightings of the pets continue to come in, but all have turned out to be false alarms so far.
Georgie said: “There were a couple of bedraggled dogs from Devon that it was suggested online might be Ruby and Beetle. Sadly, they are not ours, definitely not.”
“I’ve tried to separate the dogs as far as the appeal is concerned, but it just isn’t working. I have tried to do separate posters for Ruby and Beetle, but it doesn’t have the same impact.
“It is a difficult one because I have kept saying throughout the campaign that they could have been separated, but the money is there whether together or split, and I’ve tried to put it at £5,000 per dog because people say £10,000 is a lot of money. Well, yes, it is, but not if you are looking at two dogs.”
Georgie is also keen to refute a report in a national newspaper report that the family had undertaken grief counselling to help overcome their loss.
“They took something and twisted it. That is not true,” she said.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Ruby or Beetle is asked to call 07885 712165 or 07989 513946.