A teenager was recently caught on a family’s CCTV as she stole their 3-month-old Cocker Spaniel puppy.
19-year-old Shannagh Cookson was recorded climbing over her neighbor’s fence into their garden carrying a portable kennel, which she used to snatch their pet, Penny.
Penny’s owner, James Daniel, said he first realized what had happened when he came back from the supermarket to find that the puppy he’d gotten for his 8-year-old daughter was missing.
The family has a second Cocker Spaniel named Molly, who was there when the theft occurred, but she was not taken. She was running around the garden when James came home.
Shannagh, the thief, is a student from Manchester. She reportedly told police that she took the dog after believing that it was being “ill-treated” by the family. She admitted to giving the dog away to a friend but has remained silent on who that friend is.
Shannagh appeared before Manchester Magistrates’ Court where she admitted to the theft. As a result, she was ordered to pay £600 compensation – which happens to be the same amount that Penny cost. Even with that, she has not admitted to Penny’s location.
In addition to the fine, she was also required to complete a 12-month community order, carry out 150 hours of unpaid work, and pay court fees totaling £85.
After the court case, James spoke out saying, “This incident has caused me and my children a lot of distress and now the lie that Shannagh is spreading about the dog being ill-treated is simply adding insult to injury. I spent a lot of money on Penny that I had worked hard for. I bought her for my daughter and I’m so angry that a person who I know just took something that isn’t hers.”
He added, “I looked at the footage and saw the woman jump over my fence and pick up the kennel with Penny inside. It’s just so heartless, shameless and cruel how she brazenly jumped over my garden fence and stole my daughter’s puppy dog. The most troubling and annoying thing is that this shameless rogue has stubbornly refused to tell police where she kept the dog or who she sold it to. Molly is Penny’s bosom friend and partner and I’m sure she’s not recovered from the shock of watching Penny being snatched.”
The court was informed that Shannagh trespassed into the family’s garden at about 11.30am on the 30th of September.
The prosecutor, Martha Dowd, said, “In his back garden he left his two small cocker-spaniels Molly and Penny, one was free to walk around and one was locked in a carrier cage. Mr. Daniels was gone for an hour and when he came back he saw Molly running around but couldn’t see the carrier cage with Penny inside it as it had gone. He went out onto his street and asked some of his neighbors however no one had seen her, he searched the local area but could not find her.”
Martha Dowd added, “He has CCTV cameras but at this time there was a power cut and he couldn’t view the footage. However, later on, he did view the footage and could see a young woman going over his back fence and taking the dog. He recognized her and he has known her since 2008 when he moved in, he was neighbors with her and her mother and her father who they still live at the same address. On October 2 he attended the address her mother answered the door and he showed the footage on his phone, her mother said: ‘that is my daughter I’m sorry about this’.”
She continued, saying, “He bought Penny in August 2019 and she’s only three months old. Shannagh has fully admitted to taking the dog and said she heard it crying, she was asked where the dog was. She says she can’t get the dog back and refused to say where it was. When asked how she would feel she said she would still take the dog as she said it was being treated badly.”
During the mitigation, her defense lawyer Stephen Connor addressed the court, “In interview she accepted she had taken this dog and indeed she attended the interview on a voluntary basis. Throughout the course of her interview she raised real concerns about the health of the dog that she took and the health of other puppies that she says were in the back garden. She has been open with me because she was alarmed about the health of those dogs – the CCTV actually shows her on her phone trying to get through to the RSPCA but was being kept waiting. In hindsight, she accepts she took a foolish decision and she regrets that. The dog was given to a friend the defendant is adamant that she hasn’t received any financial gain – you are dealing with a 19-year-old lady who had never even troubled the courts.”
Hopefully, this thief has a change of heart and reveals where the stolen puppy is in order for Penny to be returned to her family.
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.
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