Hampstead's child nutrition guru Annabel Karmel distraught after pedigree dog stolen
DOG owners from Hampstead have been left angry and devastated after thieves stole their pets from under the noses of a professional walker. On Monday afternoon a van containing 11 animals belonging to Hampstead residents including children s nutrition gur
DOG owners from Hampstead have been left angry and devastated after thieves stole their pets from under the noses of a professional walker.
On Monday afternoon a van containing 11 animals belonging to Hampstead residents including children's nutrition guru Annabel Karmel, was stolen by thieves.
The Ham&High understands the crooks might have followed the driver and pounced on Christchurch Hill when she stopped to pick up a dog and left the keys in the ignition.
Later that day nine of the 11 pets were found tied to a lamppost in North Finchley. The two are still missing are both pedigrees, a Samoyed belonging Ms Karmel and a Pug, owned by Hampstead couple Rolf and Goldie Allan.
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A reward of �2,000 for each dog has been offered by the desperate owners, who have vowed to think again about giving their beloved pets to a professional walker in charge of so many dogs.
Ms Karmel told the Ham&High: "I will never give my dog to a walker who takes out more than five at one time. It is ridiculous for one person to look after 11 dogs. It is too many. It is ridiculous. This has changed my view. He will never leave my side. This has been a tragedy for my family.
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"My dog will be mortified. I worry about what they are doing to him. If they have any feelings at all they should know these dogs need to be with the people who love them."
Mr and Mrs Allan returned early from the holiday in Switzerland when news of the theft reached them. Mr Allan fears the dogs have been stolen for ransom money or for breeding purposes.
He said: "If I get my dog back he will never go out with any dog walker unless there is a guarantee that there are no more than two or three dogs at one time. To take more is totally irresponsible. It's terrible."
Appeal posters have been placed on lampposts across Hampstead and in the Red Lion Estate in North Finchley where nine of the dogs were recovered.
The van, which belonged to the Good Boy Dog School, run by Dima Yeremenko was found dumped in Tanza Road, Parliament Hill, leading him to believe the thieves may be local.
Mr Yeremenko, who is already battling proposals by Hampstead Heath bosses to limit the number of dogs professionals can walk, disagreed with the owners' concerns.
He said: "If the van was stolen with one dog inside it would be one too many," he said. "It is completely irrelevant argument and just distracts everyone from what has happened. The driver was always within site of the van. Probably if she had run back she would have been overpowered or hurt. It was open attack."
Hampstead's Nigel Steward, whose dog Jack, was next in line to be picked up, has backed Mr Yeremenko.
He said: "It is an unfortunate incident and I think it is the first one he has had. The biggest problem is traffic wardens which mean the drivers have to take certain risks when parking. The number of dogs is irrelevant."
Det Insp Gary Randall of Camden Police said: "We are investigating this incident and doing everything we can to locate the missing dogs. We advise the public never to leave their car keys in an unattended vehicle, it only takes a second for an opportunist thief to act.