A DOG stolen from a back garden has been reunited with his owner after a two-and-a-half year search.

Buster, a ten-year-old Boxer, was returned to overjoyed Jason Postlethwaite after he discovered his beloved pet had been rehomed by an animal charity.


Mr Postlethwaite said he had been devastated when Buster disappeared from his Oswaldtwisle home but had never given up hope that they would be reunited.

When Bacup resident Sally Eltis, who had named the dog Tyson after falling for him at Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary, discovered he had an original owner she said the only right thing to do was to hand the pet back.

Garage owner Mr Postlethwaite said Buster, who he had microchipped, recognised him instantly when he went to check that the Boxer was definitely his.

The 40-year-old said: “I couldn’t believe it. I was gobsmacked.

“He was exactly the same dog as he was before. I had been so worried I would never see him again.”

Miss Eltis said: “It was hard to give Buster back. He was a lovely boy, but he’s back home where he belongs.”

Mr Postlethwaite, who is originally from Workington, Cumbria, said Buster had been taken from the garden in Union Road, Oswaldtwisle, at around 10.30pm on September 3, 2012.

He said: “I was in the house. He had literally been outside in the back garden for five or ten minutes. The gate had been opened, and he was gone.”

Mr Postlethwaite rang Petlog, the UK’s largest lost and found database for microchipped pets managed by The Kennel Club, and reported Buster stolen.

He then started an internet campaign and drove to local dog pounds to look at animals he thought could have been Buster.

After his efforts proved futile, Mr Postlethwaite eventually got another dog, a Boxer called Harland.

But then, late last year, after rechecking with Petlog to make sure no-one had contacted them about Buster, Mr Postlethwaite discovered the dog had been handed in to Bleakholt, in Bury Old Road, Edenfield.

It is not known who had the dog in the intervening two years.

Mr Postlethwaite said: “He was put in Bleakholt in October last year because he had been mistreated.

“He had been kicked and had had numerous operations.

“Bleak Holt scanned him but when Buster was dropped off, it was by a woman who said she was in a violent relationship and the boyfriend had mistreated him.

“They took it as a genuine case. They got in touch with Petlog and changed the ownership details.

“I was never called and I had the same mobile number.

“It should not happen. As soon as that microchipped was scanned, it should have come up that Buster was stolen, even though it was two and a half years later.”

From next year, dog owners face fines of up to £500 if they fail to microchip their pets.

But Debbie Matthews, who is campaigning to make the scanning of microchips compulsory, said vets and rescue centres were under no obligation to actually scan them, which she said means owners need to be ‘very lucky’ in order to get their dogs back.

Earlier this month, the government said pets killed on Britain’s roads must be collected, scanned, and their owners notified after a petition was signed by more than 100,000 people.

Branded Harvey’s Law, the campaign began when a Sheffield teacher spent £8,000 searching for her poodle.

She found out four months later that Harvey had actually been found dead 20 minutes after going missing.