Stolen therapy dog Lottie has sadly crossed the rainbow bridge

Lottie, a therapy dog who was stolen from a 12-year-old girl with autism has sadly crossed the rainbow bridge.

Three-year-old Dalmatian Lottie was taken from Chloe Hopkins’ home in Peatling Parva, Leicestershire, in early December.

An appeal to find the dog was widely shared on social media and was backed by TV presenter Chris Packham.

Chloe’s mother, Gemma Hopkins, posted on a Facebook page about the appeal that Lottie’s body had been found.

She told the BBC the family was given the news on Sunday after Lottie’s microchip was scanned by a vet.

Leicestershire Police said the dog was found in a layby in Countesthorpe – about four miles (6.4km) away from the family’s home – on Sunday morning.

Lottie – who required specialist food for a liver condition – vanished on 1 December when thieves broke into the family home.

Following the theft, Mrs Hopkins described the dog as her daughter’s “best friend”, saying she helped to keep her calm.

She wrote on Facebook: “Having to identify her was the hardest thing I’ve done. 

“I’ve now got to break my 12-year-old’s heart tonight.

“We never wanted this ending. We kept hopeful. Goodbye my crazy bunch of spots.”

She told the BBC her daughter had since been given the news.

Hundreds of people have shared their condolences on social media.

Leicestershire Police said it was continuing to investigate the theft and asked anyone with information to get in touch.

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