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Stolen German Shepherd Ben is recovered unharmed following ransom demand

Published Jan 19, 2022

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BEN, a magnificent Long Haired German Shepherd, stolen a few months after he was adopted, has been reunited with his human family.

In a statement, Animal Welfare Society of South Africa (AWS) spokesperson Allan Perrins said Lolita Muller from Rocklands in Mitchells Plain had to take the heartbreaking decision to surrender her two dogs - Ben and Cardi, a docile Pitbull Cross - on August 17 last year.

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“Lolita had fallen upon hard times and had to move to an area where she feared for their safety. Both dogs were in great condition and very well behaved, so it wasn’t long before both were adopted. Ben was adopted by Carole and Marlon Mitchell from Grassy Park on September 12,” said Perrins.

But last week, January 15, Ben went missing from the Grassy Park home.

“Initially, it was thought that someone may have accidentally left the gate open and that Ben had wandered off, but it soon became apparent that he had been stolen. The family immediately took to social media, and as soon as we became aware of Ben’s disappearance, we too posted a Lost Notice on Facebook and several WhatsApp Groups.

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“Messages poured in, and it was soon confirmed that Ben was in Ocean View. The first report of his whereabouts took the form of an opportunistic ransom demand from an alleged Ocean View gangster who demanded R250 in exchange for information leading to Ben’s return. His report was soon followed by a call from a lady, also from Ocean View, who claimed to have Ben,” said Perrins.

According to Perrins, the woman said she was en-route to visit family in Grassy Park when she noticed a suspicious looking adult man walking a “somewhat regal looking but reluctant Ben, so she decided to stop and ask him for the dog that he reportedly willingly handed over to her”.

“As soon as we were alerted to the possible whereabouts of Ben, his imminent return and the alleged extortionist’s claim, we contacted the Grassy Park SAPS and made arrangements for them to accompany us to the Mitchell’s residence to await his return. On Monday, January 17, roughly 48 hours after his disappearance, the ‘stranger’ from Ocean View, known only as Zulpha, returned Ben – unharmed,” said Perrins.

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