Dognappers violently ‘punched’ a 60-year-old woman to the ground and stole her beloved dog while out on a walk.
His owner was heading towards a park near to Burdett Road, Mile End, when two men, believed to be in their 30s suddenly attacked her from behind and stole her Staffordshire bull terrier, Archie, on Sunday, May 2 at around 5pm.
The rescue dog was said to have been taken off his lead and then bundled into a white van, with the suspects fleeing the scene.
His owner informed the police and has launched a desperate appeal to be reunited with her pet adding: “No questions asked, reward for safe return”.
Taking to Facebook the appeal said: “Owner punched to the ground by two white, well-built males, Archies put in a van approx 5pm Locksley Park, E14.”
A friend, also in her 60s said the owner was left on the floor after the assault.
She told the Mirror: “They didn’t say anything. They came quietly, quickly from behind and pushed her forcefully.
“She hurt her back. She is shaking violently.
“She is not eating or drinking from what I can see. All she wants is Archie home.”
The friend, who requested that she and Archie’s owner remain anonymous, added: “She walked the streets all night in the hope that these a**holes might have dumped him.”
The family adopted Archie, who is microchipped and neutered, from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home six years ago.
He is brindle, black and white in colour.
It is not known why the woman and Archie were targeted, but dog thefts appear to have skyrocketed during the Covid pandemic and lockdowns.
It is estimated thefts have risen by a staggering 250 per cent, with criminal gangs involved in some dognappings.
The friend of Archie’s owner said: “I think from a distance Archie looks a young dog, and Staffies are popular dogs.
“But once they get a good look at him they will realise he is actually an old dog.
“We’re hoping that he is dropped at a vets or somewhere and he will be recovered quickly.
“He has been with this family for six years. His family is in pieces, they are not sleeping.
“I would think the dog is not sleeping.
“We would appeal to you to bring this dog home and end this pain.”
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: “Police were called at approximately 5.05pm on Sunday, May 2 to reports of a theft in Norbiton Road, E14.
“Officers attended and it was reported a woman was pushed to the floor by two men who stole her dog.
“She received minor injuries. Enquiries are ongoing. No arrests have been made.”