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Man tried to snatch dog in Southampton park where schoolgirl was grabbed
A WOULD-BE thief attempted to snatch a puppy from a dogwalker – just hours after a terrified schoolgirl was grabbed and chased in the same Hampshire park.
Michelle Glover was walking her two Jack Russell dogs in a Lakelands Park in Freemantle, Southampton, when a man tried to snatch one of them from its lead.
During the struggle, as Michelle clung on to her beloved seven-month-old pets, she was pushed into a nearby wall, bruising her head.
The man, said to be in his mid to late 20s, white, skinny and 5ft 10ins tall, ran away, leaving both dogs, when two walkers approached.
The drama unfolded at about 12.30pm last Monday – just four hours after a separate attack in which a man grabbed and chased a terrified 11-year-old girl in the park.
As reported, the man, who was described as white and aged around 46, held the girl’s two arms after asking her “Why are you in the park on your own? That’s a bad choice”.
At 4.30pm that afternoon, a man wearing grey trainers and a navy hoodie targeted Michelle, 25, a recruitment consultant from Freemantle.
She said: “There was no way I was letting go of the lead. The only thing I was thinking was just getting out of there. I’ve never run so fast in my life. I just knew I couldn’t risk staying there.
“I just feel really sad. There’s no way I can take them out on my own any more. I’d warn other dog owners to keep their wits about them. Don’t take them off their leads and don’t let anyone stroke them.”
Police have now launched an investigation into the incident, which hap pened near Paynes Road.
A police spokesman said: “Although dogs do get stolen from time to time it is unusual for someone to try to steal a dog while it is with its owner.
“We have no reason to think this is any more than a very unfortunate one-off incident at the moment and not connected to any others but we always recommend owners of high-value pets to take reasonable precautions to keep them safe if they think their animal may be a target.”
Anyone with information on the attempted dog theft should contact the Shirley Safer Neighbour-hoods team on 101, or with information regarding the young girl, contact PC Turner at Redbridge Police Office on the same number.
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