Just after Christmas last year the Bell family’s world fell apart. Border terriers Ruby and Beetle, their treasured family pets, were stolen on a walk in the Scottish Borders.

After a frantic but unsuccessful local search, an online campaign was started to reunite Georgie and Ed Bell with their beloved family pets. Yet eight months later, despite attracting nearly 10,000 followers, they still aren’t any closer to finding their dogs.

The family had suffered months of torment when suddenly, finally, they had a positive lead! They contacted PetScanner, who told them that on 1 August at 17.16pm followed immediately by a second one at 17.17pm; somebody somewhere had input Beetle’s chip number into Identibase’s chip checker online tool. What did this mean? Had someone found Beetle and been trying to trace the owner?

Heartbreakingly, their hopes were to be crushed. After frantic phone calls to Identibase, the company with which Beetle’s chip is registered, the Bells discovered that the company does not record the IP address of anyone searching their database. Despite PetScanner knowing the searches had been done, Identibase, the microchip registering company had let them down. There was no record of the search.

So what now for Georgie Bell and her family in their search for their beloved little brown dogs?

“Dog theft is such a cruel crime,” says Georgie. “The torment is torture, it eats you up day after day after day. The strain has tested my family to heartbreaking limits.

“All we can do is spread Ruby and Beetle’s images ever wider in the hope that they may be recognised, leading to their microchip details being checked properly. All we want is to have our dogs home where they belong. No questions. No consequences. We just want them home.”

Ruby and Beetle are just two of many dogs that are stolen every year. Shocking figures show that the number of dogs reported stolen in the UK has risen for the fourth year in a row; today, the number stands at five each day.

If you know where Ruby and Beetle are, or have bought a young adult Border Terrier this year, you can contact Georgie Bell on 07885 712 165

Fern’s Law, an online petition to update the current flawed microchip system helping reunite missing and stolen pets, is being championed by Vets Get Scanning. Until the system is improved, more dogs will simply disappear.

Last week, an anonymous benefactor offered to increase the reward for Ruby and Beetle’s return from £5,000 to £10,000.

“We hope and pray that this additional reward money will help us increase awareness of Ruby and Beetle by getting the message out to a wider audience. We are desperate to have our dogs home where they belong,” said Georgie Bell.

If you know where Ruby and Beetle are, or have bought a young adult Border Terrier sometime this year, you can contact Georgie Bell on 07885 712 165. Everything will be confidential.

This is a guest essay by Carol Armstrong. Want to write for us? Visit www.dogstodaymagazine.co.uk/essay-submission or email editorial@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk

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