A Scots family are offering a £5000 reward for the return of their pet dogs, which they fear were taken during a New Year’s Day hunt.
Gamekeeper Edward Bell, 41, and wife Georgie, 45, originally offered a £1000 for the return of their border terriers Ruby and Beetle, after they disappeared from the Lothian Estate in Jedburgh.
They are now offering a larger sum for the return of Ruby, five, and Beetle, two, after raising money through a Crowdfunding page. It has so far raised £2266.
The family have reported the missing dogs to Police Scotland.
Started by Lynn Dixon, she said: ‘We are trying to raise money to fund a reward for information which will hopefully lead to Ruby and Beetle being returned to their desperate family. Ruby and Beetle went missing on 28 December from the Scottish Borders, after extensive searching it is now believed they have been stolen.
‘Friends of the family suggested trying to raise this reward fund in the hope that it leads to their safe return.
‘With the understanding that If the reward fund isn’t paid out for whatever reason (hopefully with Ruby and Beetle being found with no need for it) then it has been suggested any money raised be donated to an animal/ dog charity of choice.’
However, Georgia believes the pedigree dogs, which are mother and daughter: ‘were probably snatched by opportunistic’ thieves, causing upset to the couple’s children, Tom, 15, Felicity, 14, and Frances, 12, and worries the pets may be used by poachers as working dogs, or as bait for dog fighting.
She told the Daily Mail: ‘It has been the longest month of my life. We have got the reward up to £5,000.
‘I’ve never gone through anything as hard as what we are going through. We’ve had about three hoax calls about it.
‘The other possibility is that it is low-life scum who have no morals, and I don’t know how to reach out to them.
‘What I believe is that they’ve possibly been stolen and sold on, and may be used as working terriers. I keep thinking people will know where they are. If they could have got home, they would have got home.’
A Police Scotland spokesman confirmed: ‘Police in the Borders received a report of two lost dogs in the Jedburgh area on January 1.
‘At this time the dogs remain lost with local inquiries being unable to reveal their whereabouts.
‘Any information or sightings can be reported via 101.’