Missing puppy found hanged outside owner’s home by sadistic burglars

A missing puppy was found hanged outside its owner's home – two days after being stolen by sadistic burglars.

Gemma Knowles was heartbroken when she made the grisly discovery on Thursday after a break-in to her family home.

The mum-of-three was distraught when she saw British bulldog Wilma hanging on a garden gate.

Cruel thieves had trapped the 12-week-old in a wire noose and left the body tied up.

Ms Knowles, 31, and her partner Andrew Bolland, 36, attempted to revive the dog through mouth to mouth – but their efforts were in vain.

The couple's three children, Penelope, two, Josh, 10, and Dominic, 13, are said to be so shaken by the news they don't want to live in their home anymore.

Ms Knowles said: "We're all absolutely devastated. We're heartbroken.

"We'd only had Wilma for three weeks – we bought her because the kids had been begging for years for a puppy.

"I just can't believe somebody would do this to us.

"The kids were so scared and so upset – my son doesn't even want to be here in the house anymore."

Ms Knowles said the burglars broke into her home by smashing down the back door shortly after she left for work on Tuesday morning.

They stole the family Mercedes and £40 of her son's pocket money along with poor Wilma.

The car has since been found dumped on a nearby estate.

Teaching assistant Ms Knowles, of Darwen, Lancashire, believes the dog was nicked due to its street value of around £4,000.

She thinks burglars must have been scared by the attention surrounding her Facebook post appealing for help finding Wilma.

"This is a nice area and nothing like this has ever happened while I've been here," Ms Knowles added.

"There is no reason for anybody to do this to us – we're a quiet family, we keep ourselves to ourselves really.

"I think they must have taken the puppy to sell for cash but then got scared off by the attention on social media."

Police were called to the scene and are investigating the incident.

A Lancashire Constabulary spokesman said: "We were called at 7.48am Thursday morning to reports a puppy had been found dead outside an address on Cranberry Lane, Darwen.

"The dog, an English bulldog called Wilma, was found on the ground. She had been secured to the gate with a makeshift lead.

"The puppy had been stolen during a burglary at the property on March 19.

"Our thoughts are with Wilma's owners at this distressing time.

"Enquiries are ongoing."

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