Horndean family's delight as stolen dog Melchy is returned within a day after owner, 13, robbed in daylight
A DELIGHTED family have been reunited with their beloved pet dog after thieves violently stole him from a teenage boy.
Stunned parents Donna and Mark Brotherton were desperately searching for their Border Terrier cross after their son Samuel, 13, was robbed by two men in broad daylight.
A doorbell camera caught the moment the men, in a blue Volvo, pushed Samuel to the ground as he screamed at them to give back five-year-old Melchy.
He had been walking to his grandmother’s home in Lovedean when he was attacked in Stonechat Road, Horndean, at around 5.30pm on Tuesday – sparking a huge social media appeal.
But now after less than 17 hours the guilt-ridden thieves anonymously called Melchy’s owners this morning saying he would be returned.
Distraught Mark, 46, then took a call from a dog walker saying she had spotted Melchy in Jubilee Park – just a 10-minute drive from their home.
The family are now over the moon to be reunited – something they never thought would happen despite their pet being microchipped.
Veterinary nurse Donna, 34, told The News: ‘I’m absolutely relieved – I never ever thought we’d be back in this position.
‘I never thought I’d see him again. It’s only the support and people rallying around that we’ve got him back.’
Samuel is traumatised from the robbery but is a ‘strong boy,’ his mum said.
‘He’s absolutely relieved,’ she said. ‘I don’t know what we would have done if he wasn’t back.
‘It’s a pretty traumatising experience but he’s a strong boy.’
Donna said she sends her thanks to each and every person who helped in sharing their plight on social media.
Police are investigating the robbery.
Land surveyor Mark added: ‘It’s phenomenal. I don’t know what to say – my family are beside themselves.
‘He’s home and safe. It’s the best outcome we could have hoped for.
‘I had an anonymous call to say that Melchy would be returned to us within the hour.
‘Shortly after that we got a call from someone walking their dog in Jubilee Park to say there was a dog racing around there and they thought it was ours.
‘I got down there – there’s a nursery down there – they fenced him in.
‘He was very pleased to see me. It’s one of the best feelings ever to get a lost dog back and to know my son will get his dog back.
‘It’s just such a result after a sleepless night. It’s just wonderful.’
Mark had offered a £10,000 reward but no-one has claimed it.
The family plan to buy Melchy a new collar today after he was returned without one.
As reported, the men had asked Samuel Melchy’s name before stealing the Border Terrier cross.
A Hampshire police spokeswoman said: ‘Our investigation into this incident is ongoing and we continue to appeal for any witnesses to come forward to assist our investigation.’
Call 101 quoting 44210308384, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.