Heartwarming moment puppy is reunited with owner after being stolen by thieves

This is the tear-jerking moment a puppy is reunited with her owner after she was snatched from her dog walker’s van.

Melina Georgiou, 27, had left her adorable Maltipoo pooch Nala with a professional dog walker in Barnet, north London, last month.

But as the walker went to another client’s house, thieves stole the van which Nala was in and drove off.

After being missing from her distraught family for weeks, the puppy has finally been returned safe.

In heartwarming footage, the excitable pup wiggles uncontrollably as Melina cradles her.

The dog owner laughs and cries before burying her face in Nala’s fur.

She responds by licking Melina’s face as the pair continue to embrace.

It is not yet clear how the dog came to be reunited with her owners but another pooch, named Chester, was also in the van and has been safely returned.

The footage has been shared more than 4,000 times after being posted to a Facebook group dedicated to finding Nala.

Viewers flooded the comments section to send their well-wishes to Melina and Nala.

“Best news, so so happy for you,” one wrote.

Another commented: “The most incredible news.”

Dog thefts have soared in recent months thanks to a rise in demand for puppies during the coronavirus lockdown.

Charity DogLost saw reported pet thefts rise from 172 in 2019 to 465 in 2020.

Just this week, police discovered 83 suspected stolen dogs at a travellers’ site.

Deputy Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman, from the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), said the increase in potential profits from selling dogs has made dog theft more attractive to criminals.

“Dog theft can be a devastating crime for families and causes considerable distress to owners,” she said.

“While it is still a very rare crime, it’s sadly something we have seen increasing recently.

“During the coronavirus pandemic, criminals have adjusted their activities and are taking advantage of the big demand for pets over the lockdown period.

“The cost of a puppy has considerably increased over the past year making this a lucrative market for organised criminals to exploit.”

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