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Rhodesian Ridgeback: Mother offers £10,000 cash reward after spending TWO YEARS searching for beloved family pet

By // News | Rhodesian Ridgeback: Mother offers £10,000 cash reward after spending TWO YEARS searching for beloved family pet
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  • Debbie Spalton first suffered heartache when she had to leave Kito with family friends when she left for Dubai
  • Then Kito went missing from his new home
  • She's spent £6,000 already looking for him including contacting a psychic
  • Has now begged for detectives' help to find the Rhodesian Ridgeback

By SABI PHAGURA

PUBLISHED: 08:47 EST, 4 September 2012 | UPDATED: 12:48 EST, 4 September 2012

The good old days: Debbie (left) and Kito were inseparable before he went missing

The good old days: Debbie (left) and Kito were inseparable before he went missing

A dedicated pet owner who lost her beloved dog two years ago is offering a staggering £10,000 reward just to find out what happened to him.

Animal lover Debbie Spalton has spent more than £6,000 delivering thousands of leaflets, knocking doors and flying back and forth from her Dubai home to find her dog Kito.

She has even got the attention of pet care retail giant Pets At Home and celebrity vet Joe Inglis.

Mrs Spalton is now also getting help from former policeman turned pet detective Tom Watkins, as well as trying animal psychics and tracker dogs.

And now with Tom's help she's even got a video van - usually used in police MISSING PERSON searches - to drive around the Midlands beaming video footage of her lost dog.

After getting the Rhodesian Ridgeback as a puppy in 2004 Debbie had the heartache of leaving him in the UK on a farm with friends after she married her pilot husband and moved to the Middle East.

The former helicopter instructor knew Kito wouldn't have a life in her 23rd floor apartment or be able to cope with 50C summer heat so found him a 'doggy heaven' on a farm in Rugeley, Staffs.

But on August 7 2010 Kito disappeared from the farm a day after he'd gone missing for several hours before returning 'agitated' and 'glad to be home'.

Scroll down to see the missing dog appeal video

Missing pet

Reward: Distraught pet owner puts up the cash reward in a bid to find Kito even though thousands have been spent already.

On the hunt: Detectives Matthew Massey (left) and Tom Watkins are helping search for Kito and the car used to find missing pets

Mrs Spalton still fights back the tears talking about her 'baby' and said the reward was for any information that would let her know what has happened to him.

The 55-year-old, who lives with Emirates pilot husband Rupert, said using the video van - which toured the Midlands on Friday - was her final push to find Kito who now would be around 11 years old.

She said: 'For people who think it's "just a dog" I would say he was my baby, he and dogs like him are part of the family, he used to sleep on my bed.

'When I had to move to Dubai it was heart-breaking leaving Kito behind but our friend Sian and her family had a farm and I knew him living there would be much more dog friendly than a 23rd floor apartment and 50 degree heat, it was 'doggy heaven'.

Just playing around: Debbie and Kito used to have lots of fun together before she had to leave him to go to Dubai

Just playing around: Debbie and Kito used to have lots of fun together before she had to leave him to go to Dubai

Part of the family - Kito had finally settled down with his new owner Sian on the farm in Rugeley, Staffs

Part of the family - Kito had finally settled down with his new owner Sian on the farm in Rugeley, Staffs

'Rhodesian Ridgebacks are very loyal friendly dogs, they were bred to protect farms in Africa so they are protective but Kito is the most loving dog.

'When I went to Dubai Kito was welcomed into a lovely home where he was loved and cared for for six years - longer than he was with me.

DESPERATE MEASURES

These are just some of the extreme lengths Debbie Spalton went to in order to find her dog...    

  • Carried out door-to-door inquiries
  • Newspaper ads and radio appeals
  • Pet retail giant Pets At Home poster campaign
  • Over 6,000 leaflets delivered with every order by celeb vet Joe Inglis (pictured below)
Celebrity vet Joe Inglis helped look for the dog
  • 'Missing Packs' sent to police, councils, animal rescue centres, local schools
  • Launched a Facebook page
  • Used animal psychics
  • Enlisting help of a detective 

'They took him in and he was their beloved boy. Sian in particular was devastated when he went missing from under her nose, he was her best friend.

'On the farm he would always be close to Sian guarding her, then the day before he went missing they couldn't find him for several hours and when he did come back he was agitated and very glad to be home it seemed.

'He disappeared the next day. I now think his behaviour the day before could have been because someone had befriended him and kept him somewhere perhaps in preparation to take him away.

'I feel like I have let him down, I know £10,000 is a lot of money and it's all the savings I have.

'The reward is because I need to know what has happened to Kito, he might still be suffering now, he might be dead, we need to know.

'The reward is for any information, we just need to get some closure.'

When Kito first went missing Mrs Spalton flew back to the UK and met with Tom Watkins - a former policeman turned pet detective - who runs the UK's biggest missing pet service Animal Search UK.

Mrs Spalton added: "Tom has been amazing, he helped me organise the search for Kito and we have never given up.

'Tom has even agreed to drive the video van around for next to nothing, this could be the final push to find Kito as he would be getting older now.'

When Kito went missing he a missing lower front tooth, a scratched face from a previous altercation with a badger and a scarred tip of his right ear. He is also chipped.

Pet detective Tom Watkins said Debbie's determination and the lengths she has gone to find Kito were the most he has ever seen.

He said: 'What Debbie has done to find Kito is remarkable and a real testament to love she has for him, she has spent thousands and even flown back to the UK to search for him.'

MISSING DOG! Debbie would beam this appeal video around the Midlands 

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