Used shotgun cartridges found in woods where a dog disappeared have led police to believe the pet may have been shot and then stolen.
Barney, a black German shorthaired pointer, was being walked by owner James Clapshaw around the Mayes Lane area of Warnham at around 7am on July 19, along with another dog.
The two dogs ran off together and gunshots were heard, followed by the whimpering of an injured dog.
James, 38, who lives on the estate in Warnham, said: “The worst thing is there was a gunshot followed by the sound of a dog in agony. That sends me to tears because I know my dog wasn’t killed nicely.
“We have got a situation where someone is walking around with a shotgun and they shot a dog.
“I would love an answer to what happened but I would really like my dog or my dog’s body back, so I can bury him.”
The other dog, Barney’s brother, returned to James after the shots were heard.
James later found some blood on the ground, and said it appeared that a bleeding body had been dragged. He also found the shotgun cartridges in woodland behind Mayes Park.
Analysis of the blood samples suggest Barney, who is five years old in September, may have been shot then stolen, Sussex Police said.
James added: “It has been absolutely horrible. You get sightings and it gets your hopes up, but we are trying to get to grips with the idea our dog has been killed.
“I have got a three-year-old daughter and trying to explain it to her is so difficult, we told her Barney is in Heaven and she said she wants him back.
“I have another dog, Barney’s brother, who has probably seen what happened and now he won’t leave my side.”
James has lived on the estate for around seven years and said he has never experienced problems in the past.
PC James Munden said: “It’s not known what happened to Barney, but he is quite a valuable dog, so we are investigating the possibility that he has been stolen.
“He is a much loved family pet and his disappearance has been very upsetting for them.”
Anyone with information can email police on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 101 quoting reference 47150094181.
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