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PICTURES: Family’s joy after dogs stolen from Lancaster return home

Jack Westwood, one, with his two dogs, Walter and Betty.
Jack Westwood, one, with his two dogs, Walter and Betty.
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The owner of two dogs who were stolen from stables near Lancaster has spoken of her sheer joy to have them back home.

Betty, a blind three-year-old St Bernard, and Walter, a two-year-old Bull Mastiff, have been found safe after they were taken during a burglary in Cockerham on Saturday night.

Owner, Deniqua Westwood and her two boys, Harry, eight, and Jack, one, have not stopped playing with their adored pets since they returned home on Thursday.

Deniqua said her dogs were kept in a tiny box room full of excrement with just a bucket of water on a farm in Wigan.

“It was like a dungeon,” said Deniqua.

“You could see where Walter must have bust the bottom door off to get out,”

Jack Westwood, one, with his two dogs, Walter and Betty.

Jack Westwood, one, with his two dogs, Walter and Betty.

“Whoever stole my dogs wanted to keep them alive and well hidden.

“It was a total hell hole in there.”

Walter has suffered a cut to his ear and friction burns on his back legs from being tied up.

Betty has also suffered burns to her front legs from being tied up.

Harry Westwood, eight, with his mum Dani and pet dog, Betty, a blind St Bernard.

Harry Westwood, eight, with his mum Dani and pet dog, Betty, a blind St Bernard.

Speaking to the paper last night Deniqua said: “First of all I would like to thank all of you for making today possible.

“With over 15,000 shares my dogs are now home where they belong.

“I had a phone call Thursday morning to say two dogs a St and a Mastiff were on a farm in Wigan and wondered if just on a long shot they may be mine.

“I drove down there with Jack in the car and found myself going down a long deserted track into a forest type area.

Betty, a three-year-old blind St Bernard with Walter, a two-year-old Bull Mastiff.

Betty, a three-year-old blind St Bernard with Walter, a two-year-old Bull Mastiff.

“At the bottom was a dead end with a big derelict farm all boarded up.

“I jumped out the car and whistled, nothing, I thought I’d been set up.

“I was quite worried when I got there, mainly because I had Jack in the car, and I didn’t know if anyone was going to come out of the building.

“I shouted water and heard a bark.

“It was Walter’s bark.

“I jumped the locked up gates and Walter comes flying out of the back of the building with blind Betty following behind.

“I cannot begin to describe what I was feeling.

“I tried to pick Walter up to get him over the gate and couldn’t lift him.

“With that both dogs winched themselves under the gate and straight into the back of my car.

“I had to reverse all the way up the tiny lane all the way thinking someone was going to come in a minute and take them from me with jack still in the car.

“As soon as I got onto the road I was crying tears of unimaginable happiness.

“My dogs were in my car.”

Deniqua believes the farm where the dogs were found was set up as a place for fighting dogs.

“There was dog bones in the corner and Betty’s collar was shoved to the side.

“It was a mess and the dogs stink.

“They must have been terrified, it was just an absolute hell hole.”

Since their disappearance thousands have shared the family’s appeal online which offered a £10k reward for the safe return of the dogs.

Deniqua has said she has been overwhelmed by people’s support and generosity.

“The couple who notified me of the sighting of my dogs will forever be in my heart and I owe them a lifetime of gratitude.

“I have offered them reward money but they don’t want anything, they said they just love dogs.

“I cannot begin to explain what I’m feeling right now just totally blown away.

“The last few days have been a total nightmare I cried last night at the thought of having to wake up this morning.

“Broken hearts are the most painful of all and I wouldn’t wish this nightmare on anyone.”

Police were called to Alan Berry Racing Stables on Crimbles Lane in Cockerham on Sunday.

Investigators believe the burglary took place between 7pm on Saturday November 25 and 9am on November 26.

Horse clippers and a grooming kit were also taken from the stables, which is home to several of Dani’s horses.

The smallest horse had a chunk of its tail cut off during the burglary.

Police are still appealing for information about the burglarise and are urging people who may be able to help to contact PC 3512 Sally Ward on 101 quoting crime number WB1711183.

No arrests have been made and investigations are ongoing.