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'We still have hope' - heartbroken family's fight to find their stolen dog

PUBLISHED: 17:42 23 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:43 23 November 2019

Rita Potter, left, who started the group when her dog Daisy was stolen, and Emma Downes, who organises the group, with her dog Shadow, at the Stolen Dog meeting in Attleborough to raise awareness of pet theft in Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Rita Potter, left, who started the group when her dog Daisy was stolen, and Emma Downes, who organises the group, with her dog Shadow, at the Stolen Dog meeting in Attleborough to raise awareness of pet theft in Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2019

Two years ago today a couple were left heartbroken when their beloved pet was stolen from their home, but the family said they will never give up hope as they marched at Norfolk's stolen dog walk.

Shadow, four, wears the posters at the Stolen Dog meeting in Attleborough to raise awareness of pet theft in Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYShadow, four, wears the posters at the Stolen Dog meeting in Attleborough to raise awareness of pet theft in Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Daisy the golden retriever was stolen from the doorstep of Rita and Phillip Potter's home, in Old Buckenham, in 2017 by two men in a white Nissan Navara, and they never saw her again.

But the devastated couple were helped by family friend Emma Downes, who has been leading the campaign to find Daisy.

Since then Ms Downes has made it her mission to raise awareness about pet theft in Norfolk so no other family has to suffer.

The Stolen Dog Walk was held for its second year, in Queens Square, Attleborough, which saw families attend from across the county in the hope that their pets may one day come home.

Rita Potter, front fourth left, who started the group when her dog Daisy was stolen, and Emma Downes, front fifth left, who organises the group, with supporters and their dogs at the Stolen Dog meeting in Attleborough to raise awareness of pet theft in Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYRita Potter, front fourth left, who started the group when her dog Daisy was stolen, and Emma Downes, front fifth left, who organises the group, with supporters and their dogs at the Stolen Dog meeting in Attleborough to raise awareness of pet theft in Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Ms Downes, who organised the event, said: "Another year has gone since Daisy was taken but I can still see the pain in Rita and Phillip's eyes.

"We want to keep doing this walk to raise awareness about pet theft because dogs and puppies are stolen every day and it is just devastating for families.

"It's a chance for us all to come together with leaflets and posters to remember our dogs that have been taken and to urge animal lovers to keep their pets safe."

MORE: Animals stolen in Norfolk revealed

Today (Saturday, November 23) Mr and Mrs Potter held Daisy's lead as a devastating reminder of their loss but they said they will never stop their search.

Milo Nicholls, 11, and his brother Max, 14, give out posters at the Stolen Dog meeting in Attleborough to raise awareness of pet theft in Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYMilo Nicholls, 11, and his brother Max, 14, give out posters at the Stolen Dog meeting in Attleborough to raise awareness of pet theft in Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mrs Potter said: "It is always on our minds we can't get past that or move forward but we still have hope.

"We can't get over that somebody came into our garden and took our dog. We are still heartbroken because she was so special to us."

"Emma has been brilliant and she is so determined. She will never stop looking for Daisy."

Believed to have been part of organised crime to breed Daisy and sell her puppies for thousands of pounds, Norfolk Police recently urged animal owners to increase security in remote locations and said dog thefts often take place from open areas.

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