A WOMAN has issued a warning to dog owners after a man attempted to steal her miniature dachshund from her front garden.
Lorna Woolhouse says her partner had to punch the man to stop him taking three-year-old Margo from their home in Checkendon.
Police are investigating the incident, which happened at about 12.15pm on Wednesday last week.
Mrs Woolhouse, 33, a gardener, was not at home at the time but her partner Gary Jones, 52, was doing the washing up when he saw a man walk past the window.
She said: “We’ve been having some work done on our house so Gary thought it must have been a builder picking up something he had forgotten. About 30 seconds later, the man walked back past the window again with our little dog in his arms.
“He must have seen Margo from the road or path. We think he tempted her with food or something because she’s quite a shy dog. She’s normally cautious around strangers.
“My partner ran out and caught the man just as he was about to leave. If it had been another few seconds, he would have been out of our garden and out of sight.
“He asked the man what he thought he was doing and he admitted he was stealing her. He just said, ‘I’m stealing her, mate, I’m stealing her’.
“Gary was asking him to drop Margot but he wouldn’t. He started heading away so Gary had to punch him. He fell to the floor and dropped Margo.
“Gary was able to pick her up and put her back in the house but by the time he came back out, the man had disappeared.”
Mrs Woolhouse said she and her partner were left “shaken” by the incident.
They have since installed cameras in their garden and no longer leave Margo outside unattended.
Mrs Woolhouse said: “It’s so shocking when something like this happens. We thought we lived in a nice little village. Margo has definitely become more nervous. She doesn’t want to leave our side now. She is such a sweet little dog and just means the absolute world to us.
“I don’t know what would have happened if my partner hadn’t spotted the man.”
She urged other dog owners to be vigilant, saying: “Please keep an eye on your dogs. This has shaken us up so much but we are so relieved to still have our lovely little dog.”
Thames Valley Police confirmed they were investigating. They described the offender as a white man in his forties with short gingery hair and weighing about 15 stone.
Anyone with information should call police on 101, quoting reference 43220191862.