THE family who called in canine detectives to try and trace their kidnapped dog have spoken of their delight at his return.
Vicky Manetti and partner Grahame Thompson believe Max the boxer dog was deliberately targeted when thieves broke into Mr Thompson’s workshop.
Despite the mechanic’s workshop, in Hambrook, near Emsworth, being full of Mr Thompson’s expensive tools, they were ignored and 12-year-old Max was taken instead.
That was in September and the family spent weeks searching the streets, putting up posters and running a social media campaign.
They even paid for a beagle to trace Max’s scent.
Every time they were taken back to the Riders Lane area of Leigh Park.
But the day The News featured Max’s story he was dropped off at a vets in Chichester.
Ms Manetti said: ‘I would like to thank The News for the coverage of our plight with our teddy bear, Max.
‘His safe return would never have been possible without it.
‘Grahame’s daughter and granddaughter are overjoyed that he has been returned to us safely.
‘I would particularly like to thank Jenny and Tiga who were very instrumental in us being able to pinpoint where Max was last seen, and being walked.
‘We both feel without fantastic Tiga the beagle and his owner none of this would have been possible.
‘We will always be eternally grateful to The News team who made it possible for him to be returned to us safely and so quickly.’
Mr Thompson was contacted by the Chichester dog warden who had been contacted by the veterinary surgery. They were told he was dropped off by a Spanish man who said the hound had been wandering the streets.
But Ms Manetti disputes this.
She said: ‘When we got Max back he had been bathed and his nails clipped.
‘Whoever took him was going to keep him until they saw the news story.’