Mum, 50, ‘pinned to ground by thugs who snatched her beloved dog in street attack’

A mum was allegedly pinned to the ground in a terrifying street attack by a pair of thugs who snatched her beloved dog.

Joanna Fox, 50, was attacked while she was walking family dog Minnie at about 8.30pm in Woodville, Derbyshire, on Sunday night, her son says.

James, 22, told The Mirror two men tripped over his mother who was alone, before one restrained her to the ground and the second grabbed the Dachshund.

He said his mum was left shaking, can barely talk after the attack and has been left with cuts and bruises.

“She is just in distress,” James said. “She is an emotional person and can hardly talk.

“She is just shaking uncontrollably.”

Derbyshire Police are appealing for information.

Demand for puppies has boomed during lockdown – but that in turn has caused a stark increase in the number of dogs stolen by criminals.

According to missing pets website Dogs Lost, there has been a 170% increase in the number of dogs stolen across the UK since the start of the pandemic.

James added: “Something needs to be done.

“They attacked my mum to get the dog out of her hands. That dog is really loved.”

James said his mum set off alone with Minnie at about 8pm, when it was still light.

She was walking near the Asda garage at Tollgate roundabout when she could see something behind her, he said.

“She tried to turn around and that’s when they tripped her up and she fell on her knees,” he added.

“One of them restrained her on the ground while the other was saying ‘give us the dog’.

“He managed to snatch the dog, run across the road and put it in a car.

“Her wrists and knees are hurt, she has got cuts and bruises.”

James said his mum wouldn’t usually take that route and thinks the two men were “opportunists”.

He said there were a couple of witnesses who tried, with no luck, to cycle after the car.

James said they have reported the incident to police and are trying to raise awareness of the incident in the hope they will get their dog back.

Derbyshire Police said in an appeal last night: “The force received a call just after 8.20pm yesterday (Sunday 11 April) to a report of a dog which had been stolen in Woodville.

“The victim was walking along Moira Road, near the New Inn pub, when she was approached by two men, who allegedly tripped her over, threatened her and stole her dog, a two-year-old Miniature Dachshund (sausage dog) named Minnie.

“The men left the scene in a black Ford Mondeo (registration beginning YG60), along Moira Road in the direction of Albert Village.

“Both men are described as being aged in their 30s, with one of the men being white, of a stocky build and with short fair hair.

“Enquiries are ongoing and we would urge anyone who was in the area at the time and noticed anything suspicious, or with any information on the whereabouts of the dog, to contact us on the details below.

“Also of interest to detectives are any drivers who were in the Asda filling station in Burton Road, Woodville between 8.10pm and 8.15pm where it is believed the car was shortly before the incident.”

Inspector Chris Thornhill, who leads the policing in south Derbyshire, said: “Incidents such as this are, thankfully, very rare in Derbyshire. However, I am very aware of the impact that these crimes have on victims and how worried fellow dog owners will be hearing this news.

“Patrols have been stepped up in the area and you may see an increased police presence in the coming days. I would urge anyone with information, or concerns, to speak to them.

“Please quote reference 21*198495 in any correspondence.”