Braintree beloved Cocker Spaniel ‘stolen’ from family in suspect ‘dog-knapping’ reunited years later

A Cocker Spaniel has been reunited with her owners three years after being ‘dog-knapped’.

Eight-year-old Bella vanished from her family home three years ago and was identified thanks to her microchip last month.

Bella, who lived with her owners in Braintree, went missing in 2015 and was rescued with four other dogs that had been dumped on the side of a country road in Kent.

She was registered with Petlog, a lost and found databases for microchipped pets, and was reunited with her owner, Francesca Sharp, the morning after she was found.

When Bella was found she had severe mange on her ears and eyes, and there were signs she had been used to breed illegally on a puppy farm.

She is now recovering well at home with Francesca.Francesca said: “She lives for affection and cuddles and never leaves my side.”

Kennel Club Secretary, Caroline Kisko, said: “No one ever expects it to happen, but we urge all owners to microchip their pets and keep their details completely up to date so that they have the very best chance of finding their pets if they are ever lost or stolen.

Francesca said: “After being rescued by a kind man from the roadside, Bella was taken to a local dog charity and put into council kennels.

“Through the power of social media, especially Dog Lost who actually alerted my parents to videos of Bella circulating online, and then having her microchip scanned, we were reunited.

“I am eternally grateful that she was microchipped. We might have never seen her again if things had been different.”

Follow Bella’s DogLost timeline here…



  1. Avatar
    patlucky 2 years ago

    Brilliant story .
    Also gives owners of dog that are lost the hope they need.

  2. Avatar
    Sheila R 2 years ago

    I got my dog Joey back after 32 months, I never gave up hope as someone was seen picking him up and putting him in their car. 32 months later he was found less than 10 miles from home and taken to the shelter where they checked for the microchip and he was home to me that afternoon.

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