Thieves dig up pet cemetery to steal a poodle's €9,000 diamond collar
John Lichfield has been The Independent's man in Paris since 1997, covering French news. Before that, he was the paper's Foreign Editor and he has also worked in Brussels and Washington. In 1999, he was the UK press Awards Foreign Reporter of the year.
Friday 17 February 2012
For nine years, rumours have circulated of buried treasure in the world's oldest pets' cemetery west of Paris. Owners have been burying their animals at Asnieres since 1899, among them the Hollywood canine star Rin Tin Tin and Tipsy the poodle, who was reportedly laid to rest by his wealthy American mistress wearing a diamond collar worth €9,000.
Earlier this month, Tipsy's elaborate tomb, pictured, was toppled in the middle of the night. The dog's remains were found lying nearby, but without the collar.
Police have launched an investigation into vandalism and jewel robbery. Tipsy's elderly owner, whose identity has not been revealed, confirmed her pet had been buried wearing his diamonds. "She is devastated. This has been very traumatic for her," a police spokesman told the newspaper Le Parisien.
The Asnieres cemetery is the final resting place of 50,000 pets. Rin Tin Tin starred in movies in the 1920s and 1930s. He was found as a puppy by a US soldier on a First World War battlefield, and sent home to Paris when he died in 1932.
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