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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 September, 2003, 08:09 GMT 09:09 UK
Family pays a dog's ransom
Sara Tasker and George
George was returned underfed but unhurt
A family has paid a 500 ransom for the safe return of its pet puppy.

The 13-week-old boxer, George, was snatched from the garden of his home in Coventry, says owner Sara Tasker.

She says the dognappers demanded 500 for George's safe return.

The money was handed over during a meeting in a lay-by.

Reprisals fear

Ms Tasker told the BBC's Midlands Today programme a neighbour had seen a man take George from her garden.

I won't lose the bitterness and resentment for the police I feel right now
Sara Tasker

She said: "We received the anonymous phone call and we were absolutely horrified when this phone call confirmed that George had been stolen, and that they wanted the 500 reward money as a ransom in exchange for the dog."

Ms Tasker said that she and her partner informed the police about what had happened, but she said that she felt they were not interested in getting George back.

She added: "I'm very happy that George is home, very relieved that it's over.

"But at the same time I won't lose the bitterness and resentment that I hold for the police right now because, when we needed them most, they let us down."

In a statement, West Midlands police said that there was insufficient evidence to obtain a search warrant to look for the dog, but added officers would continue to try to identify the thieves.

Ms Tasker said that she was worried that if the police do now choose to investigate, the dognappers could take reprisals against her family.

BBC Midlands Today's Giles Latcham
"The phone call led to a meeting in a lay-by."

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