Three-legged stolen dog found 170 miles away from home in Burnley reunited with family just in time for Christmas

This is the heart-warming moment a stolen dog who went missing in March has been reunited with her family after being found 170 miles away from home.

Minnie, a French bulldog, was found with a severe leg injury and abandoned late at night at the side of a canal in Liverpool Road, Hapton, near Burnley, by a woman walking her dog.

A microchip found on her revealed that Minnie belonged to a family who lived 170 miles away in Moreton in Marsh, Gloucestershire. She had been reported missing back in March after she disappeared from the garden of her home.

RSPCA animal rescuer, inspector Ryan King, was called to help Minnie - who needed life-saving surgery to have her leg amputated.

Owner Staci Day delighted to be reunite with pet dog Minnie. Photo credit: RSPCA

Now, the three-legged dog seems to be jumping for joy as she has been reunited with her delighted family in time for the festive season by the RSPCA, with video footage capturing the heart-warming moment she sees them for the first time in eight months.

The footage shows two-year-old Minnie pulling to get to her home and once inside she immediately recognises owner Staci Day and runs up to fuss her, while Staci is overcome with emotion. Staci’s three children Joshua (13), Ella (9) and six-year-old Jacob were also delighted about their early and unexpected Christmas present.

Ryan, who has launched an investigation to find out who dumped Millie in her neglected state, said it was a happier part of his job returning the much-loved pet to her family.

Ryan said: “It was great to see such a happy ending after all Minnie has endured. She was so excited to see her family. As soon as I got her out of the van and started walking towards the house she started pulling me as she knew where she was going. She rushed straight over to Staci with her tail wagging and jumping up at her. She looked so happy to be home - and was enjoying getting lots of fuss and love. This really does highlight why microchipping your pet is so important and it is vitally important to tell the chip company yourself if any contact details change.”

French bulldog Minnie had been missing since March. Photo credit RSPCA

Staci Day said she was "shocked" when she received a call from the RSPCA. She added: “We reported her missing but thought she may have been involved in a road accident as there is a busy road nearby. We thought we might not ever find her especially as time went by. So, it was quite a shock when I got a call from the RSPCA to tell me she was found 170 miles away and she would be able to return home.

“It is so sad she had been neglected and has lost her leg, but she doesn’t seem to be letting it bother her and she is back to her playful and loving self. The children are really thrilled to have her home and have been playing and fussing her - this has made it a perfect Christmas.

"Minnie certainly seems to be enjoying herself and has settled straight back in - we are so grateful to the RSPCA for helping save her and returning her home.”

The RSPCA launched an investigation following reports that a dog had been found abandoned with a severe leg injury at 11pm on November 28th. The leg wound had been bandaged, not by a trained professional, and was severely infected, which as a result had left it hanging off.

Insp. Ryan King, has launched an investigation to find out who dumped Millie. Photo credit RSPCA

Minnie had no feeling in her leg and a vet decided to save the poor dog she would need an emergency leg amputation. She was then taken to the RSPCA’s Greater Manchester Animal Hospital where she had to have her leg amputated further. It was here that a microchip was found which revealed her owner’s details and the fact she had been reported as missing in March.

Ryan added: “We don’t know where she has been for the past eight months, but she has clearly been neglected and then to be dumped like rubbish at the side of a cold canal is just awful. "If the dog-walker had not spotted her I don’t think Minnie would have survived much longer so I am grateful to the woman who found her.

“I am appealing for anyone who knows about the whereabouts of Minnie during this period to contact the RSPCA appeal line on 0300 123 8018.”

The RSPCA says they concerned to see how many dogs are being stolen each year and urge anyone who believes their pooch has been taken to report the incident to police immediately.

A spokesperson for the charity said: “As an animal welfare charity the RSPCA doesn’t deal directly with pet theft - leaving criminal matters such as this to the expertise of police - but we believe the rise in dognapping could be as a result of the surging popularity, and value, of certain ‘designer’ breeds and fashionable crossbreeds.

“We’d urge all dog owners to take extra precautions to protect their pets from thieves by neutering them, ensuring they are microchipped with up-to-date contact details registered, ensuring they wear a collar with contact details embroidered or an engraved ID tag. We’d also advise that owners never leave their pets tied up outside shops or alone in cars, ensure their gardens are secure with gates locked, and ensure their pet has a good recall and doesn’t stray too far when off-lead on walks.

“Anyone who suspects their dog may have been stolen should immediately alert police, contact their microchip company to register their pet as stolen and inform local rescue groups, vets, dog walkers and neighbours.”

For more information about microchipping, visit the RSPCA website: www.rspca.org.uk/microchipping.