A young girl with autism has been left “heartbroken” after her therapy dog was stolen just weeks before Christmas and her birthday.
Christmas Eve is normally an extra special time for 12-year-old Chloe Hopkins as she celebrates her birthday while eagerly awaiting the big day.
But this year all she wants for Christmas is her “best friend” Lottie the Dalmatian, who was snatched from her family’s home in Peatling Parva, Leicestershire, three weeks ago.
Three-year-old Lottie was bought as a puppy to help Chloe with her anxiety.
Wildlife TV presenter Chris Packham, who has Asperger syndrome, shared an appeal to find Lottie on social media, writing: “Please help reunite Chloe with Lottie. I can imagine her life without her and it isn’t good.”
Chloe’s mother, Gemma Hopkins, said her daughter had been “up until late crying” on Monday night because she missed Lottie.
The family is offering a substantial reward to anyone who can return Lottie and make it “the best Christmas ever”.
Lottie, who is microchipped and needs medication for a kidney problem, was stolen in the early hours of 1 December.
She is described as a rare-breed pedigree with liver-coloured spots.
A drone was spotted flying over the family’s home in Leicestershire a few days before the pet was stolen, according to the BBC.
Leicestershire Police said a “bolt on the door of an outhouse was bent and the dog was stolen”, in a statement to LeicestershireLive.
A six-month-old labradoodle was also stolen at knifepoint from a woman in St Austell, Cornwall, on Monday.
The owner was walking the dog, named Waffle, at about 7am when a man approached her and threatened her with she believed was a knife.
The suspect is described as being about 5ft 8in tall, wearing a black, hooded top and scarf and spoke with a foreign accent.
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