A distraught rider has offered a £20,000 reward for the safe return of her dogs.
Deniqua Westwood’s two pets were stolen overnight on 25 November (Saturday) along with a set of clippers, grooming equipment and a bridle.
Her horse’s tail was also cut off in the raid of Alan Berry Racing Stables in Cockerham, Lancaster.
Deniqua had been hunting on Saturday. When she returned to the yard she fed the dogs and put them to bed.
Betty, a three-year-old St Bernard, and Walter, a two-year-old African mastiff, slept in a foaling box.
“The following morning I had a text from the groom asking if I’d taken the dogs home,” said Deniqua.
“I knew straight away they had been taken and contacted the police.
“The dogs hadn’t finished their dinner, so they must have been taken soon after I left.”
A large wheelbarrow was also missing, but was later found in a dyke beside the gallops.
Deniqua believes this was used to take the dogs away from the yard.
“They were lovely dogs but they would have had a hard job taking them,” she said.
“They would have had to drug the mastiff to take him and keep him in the wheelbarrow.”
Deniqua is particularly concerned about Betty’s safety as she is blind and relies on Walter to help her move around safely.
“I haven’t slept since they were taken — it’s been the worst few days,” she said.
“When it’s your own dog it’s so difficult. It really hurts.”
Deniqua was also confused by the thieves’ behaviour.
“They weren’t interested in anything worth money,” she said. “The keys were in the ignition of the 3.5tonne truck and the saddles were left but thrown off walls. They took one bridle out of 15.”
Deniqua, who sells hunters and has 16 horses, believes the thieves targeted Peter Pan, a 15.2hh three-year-old by Escolar, because he was the smallest.
“The police were scratching their heads about his tail, they hadn’t known anything like it,” she said.
OPINION: H&H's thoughts on the television presenter's column about riders on the road
Annie is now looking for a new home thanks to successful treatment
The blaze is being investigated by the police and fire service
“I’m not even bothered about that though, I just want the dogs back.
“It’s like they have disappeared off the face of the earth.”
A spokesman for Lancashire Police told H&H enquiries are ongoing and anyone with any information should contact the force on 101.
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.