Autistic boy, 5, hasn’t been told his beloved therapy dog stolen in kennel raid

A five-year-old boy’s mum hasn’t been able to tell him that his beloved therapy dog has been stolen.

Natallie Cobden says her son Oscar is on the autistic spectrum and, while he had previously struggled to maintain friendships he had "really bonded" with his cockapoo Elvis.

But Elvis was staying at Brookfield Farm kennels near Derby while the Cobdens were on holiday in the Lake District, and overnight on August 3, thieves struck.

The thieves targeted Elvis and another cockapoo, named Tony, along with a cocker spaniel Remy, but didn’t appear to even look at 15 other dogs that had been staying in the kennels at the time – strongly suggesting the dogs were stolen to order.

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"My whole world has been turned upside down," Natallie told the Guardian.

"There’s a side of me that feels super-angry and feels violated… there’s another side of me that is guilty because I left him there. There’s another side as a parent that I’ve let my children down."

She says that she’ll "never stop" until she gets Elvis back, and has been posting appeals on social media for his safe return.

Natallie adds that she worries about who has their family pet now, and fears he may be in a puppy farm.

Police have released CCTV footage of a car officers would like to trace in connection with the theft.

The vehicle is believed to be an older model, dark coloured Hyundai Tucson, Santa Fe, or Honda CRV, it had foreign number plates, and was seen in the area around 6pm on Tuesday, August 3.

Detective Sergeant Scott McDermott said: "We are now particularly keen to trace the driver of this car, and anyone else in the area as they may have further information which could help with our inquiries.

"This is understandably a very distressing time for the dogs' owners and those who cared for them, who are anxious to get them back to their loving homes."

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