A family dog stolen from a garden has been found dead and dumped in a housing estate.

Taz, a 10-month-old, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, was taken from his own property in Derry, Dublin, on March 17 at 8.30 am after being allowed into the garden to toilet.

Within minutes he was gone and four weeks later he was found dead, presumed by his family to have abandoned and left to starve or even killed.

Three children aged 13, 11, and nine are now trying to come to terms with the loss and the death of their beloved pet who became the newest family member last year

Taz’ owner Gary Ross, 40, has been looking for the pup for four weeks together with his children’s mum, Elizabeth, 30 and friends and family.

But on Monday, their fears were realized when they received contact about a dog found in Glasnevin, Dublin.

Dog owner Gary Perry had been walking his own dogs in a housing estate when he found Taz lying on the side of the road. He said: “It was a sad start to Friday morning. he was clearly a family pet as he had a collar.”

Gary wrapped Taz in a fleece blanket and took the little dog to the Botanic Veterinary Clinic in the hope of having the pup reunited with his family.

Elizabeth said: “We were able to confirm with the vet that the dog he found was our puppy Taz. Our wee dog who’d never been away from us, had never even been off the lead when out for a walk or allowed to roam, ended up dead and dumped on a roadside 147 miles from the safety of his home.

“On March 17, Gary had let Taz out for a pee at 8.30 am and when he called him back in moments later, Taz was gone. Initially, we thought he might have managed to jump the fence even though he wasn’t a jumper, but we all went out and started searching. I got on to social media, I contacted the local rescues and we felt he’d be home in no time because the community reacts so fast to this sort of thing.

“But Taz was gone and the only conclusion we could come to is that he was stolen, taken from his own garden, and moved on, probably sold on.”

Taz was cremated by the vets in Dublin and Gary and Elizabeth are dealing with their own grief while trying to comfort their children, who they say are shocked and devastated.

Elizabeth said: “Our children have always been brought up with dogs and I have three of my own. Taz was bought for the kids to have at Gary’s house so they’d never be without a dog. We all loved him and cared for him and the children were learning all about looking after a puppy, the responsibilities, all the fun stuff, and the difficult stuff too.

“But we never thought they’d have to learn about the theft or the death of their puppy at such a young age because some lowlife decided to steal Taz. We’re just devastated.

“Taz was left in Gary’s garden for a morning pee for literally five minutes, in a cul de sac off the main road, with no passing traffic. We believe his routine was watched and Taz was lifted in that moment as Gary stepped back into the house.

“And what they did with Taz is unbearable to think about. He was a fussy eater and only liked one brand of dog food and we doubt he would have been given it by whoever took him.

“The worst thing we are coping with is knowing how confused and frightened our puppy must have been in the last four weeks of his life.

“The first two months he was with his mummy, the next six months he was with our family, treated like another child and loved just as deeply. And then suddenly he was taken away from everything he knew and ended up starved and dead on a roadside in Dublin.

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