The owners of a sausage dog who had been missing for three months said they are grateful to have their “little man” again – though he was found covered in fleas and filth.
Rikki was one of eight dachshunds that were taken from their home in Acresford, South Derbyshire, at 11.30pm on Wednesday, February 10.
The pooch was found by a member of the public 133 miles away from home near Basingstoke, in Hampshire, StaffordshireLive reports.
He came back looking skinnier than he was, with sore eyes, awful rub burns to his nose and frostbitten ears.
Rikki is the third of eight to have returned home after dogs Percy and Muffin were found.
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While the owners are grateful their pooch has now been brought to safety, they haven’t given up on finding the rest of their missing pets.
The family took to Facebook to share the latest good news as they said: “Rikki is home. He was found by a member of the public in a field near Basingstoke, Hampshire.
“The dog Basingstoke warden, Laura, has been amazing behind the scenes and kept him safe for us until Shelley could get down there.
“Rikki is barely recognisable as ‘dog 5’, he has gone grey and lost most of his beautiful ginger. He has lost weight, has sore sticky eyes, awful rub burns to his nose, is filthy and covered in fleas, has overgrown claws, and very very sore frostbitten ears.
“He is utterly exhausted. Welcome home little man, you’re safe now.
“No further information will be given at this time as police enquiries are ongoing.
“Please give Shelley some time to tend to her poorly little man.
“Massive thank you to everyone for everything. Don’t forget we have five more to find. Let’s do this.”
The beloved pets were all stolen from Cath and Chris Lee, who run the Seale Pastures kennels and cattery, with four of the precious stolen dogs belonging to a family friend.
Anyone with any information about the whereabouts of the remaining dogs is asked to contact Derbyshire police by calling 101, quoting reference number 20*084142 in any correspondence.
They can also contact the police via their social media channels or by calling Crimestoppers, which is an anonymous service, on 0800 555111.
All the dogs are microchipped and aged between one and six years old.