When Wallace was kidnapped
The story of Wallace’s kidnapping.
In his own words.
In April of 2006, Wallace of Riverbank was stolen from outside his home. Eight days later he was returned. Here is the story of his kidnapping.
I am back on the towpath on a lovely sunny spring day. But it was all so different not that long ago.(The actually diary of events with newspaper clippings is HERE)
Here’s what happened, eight days before good Friday, 2006:
It was a sunny Thursday afternoon and I had just arrived back home from my lunchtime biscuit run to Bridge Road Cafe with my dad, when Rob the plumber rang the door buzzer. I haven’t seen Rob since the building works ended last month, so I rushed out to greet him. That was fun, but then I smelt some new pee on the next door wall and obviously I had to deal with that right away. I remember my dad calling me when he went inside with Rob, but I thought, I’ll just take a minute to myself to check the sidewalk. Because I am a responsible dog, I am allowed to have a little wonder when I want because I know what the rules are. Never go out of sight from the front door.
Just then, a car pulled up outside the house. I thought maybe it’s a friend come to visit so I ran up to the door to have a look in. Next thing the door opened and this fellow held a biscuit right at my nose.
‘I’ll have some of that’ I thought reaching for the biscuit, and by the time that sweet biscuit taste hit my mouth, I realised I was inside the car and moving. I knew straight away that something wasn’t right. I could smell it. I tried to raise the alarm by barking and this very dark man hit me on the side of the head. Thwack. I went dizzy for a second. ‘Shut it’ he said really loud, holding his arm up to prove his point. My head was spinning but I wasn’t having any of that. I barked at him again. The dark aura man turned in his seat and before I could duck he bashed me on the head really hard. It all went dark for awhile.
When I woke up I as in a field, but not a nice green field like the ones I like to run around on. This one had some broken down car parts lying in rust coloured mud. I stood up, and tried to move away from the wall when I realised I had been tied up with a piece of blue rope. I looked around. There were lots of dogs all tied to the same piece of wall on bits of rope. The smell was horrible and I am a Schnauzer – I know smell. Some of the dogs were crying. There was a Westie next to me. Usually I like Westies so I asked him what was going on. Next thing he just went for me. He was completely beserk. Luckily he didn’t seem to have much strength though – so I was able to snarl and snap my way back to my feet. All the other dogs started baying for blood. It was like a scene from a horror movie. I summoned up all my Terrier male confidence, puffed my chest out and addressed the panting Westie.
“Oy mate. What’s your game then.”
“You don’t understand. We’re all going to die’ he shrieked and with that all the other dogs started baying and howling. The noise was deafening but by far the worst thing was the smell. Rotten wee, stinking layers of poo and rancid garbage odour filling my lunchs with every breath. I felt sick to the stomach and so I started barking. Really really loud. I thought maybe if I barked loud enough my dad would hear me and come and sort out this whole sorry business.
The louder I barked the more the other dogs tried to bark as well until suddenly a woman appeared from a doorway nearby. It was like a house on wheels. She had a stick, and I thought for a fleeting second that she was going to throw it for us to run after, but instead, as she reached the first dog in the line, she swished it round really hard, crack it went, against that dogs head and his bark turned to a howling yelp of pain.
‘If you miserable runts don’t stop that noise I will smash you to a bloody pulp.’
We all went silent – except for the dog that was hurt who carried on his pitiful whining. She held the stick up again. ‘I warned you’ she said and then brought it down really hard against the poor dogs head. There was a loud crack, and then just silence. I couldn’t see very well from where I was standing, but it looked like she had knocked the fellow out cold because he had stopped making any noise at all.
The rest of that day was a blur to me. I didn’t say a word until way after dinner time, and then it was just to ask the Westie ‘What time is dinner round here’.
‘You still don’t get it.’ He replied. ‘There’s no dinner. There’s not even any water unless it rains.’ It took me awhile to understand this. After all, there is always a bowl of water wherever you go. Every dog knows that. And yet, I was beginning to think there was definitely some truth in what the Westie was saying.
Darkness fell with no further visits from the dark aura man, or the woman with the yellow hair who had beaten the first dog. Boredom hunger and thirst had made me brave again and so I started a round of barking. At first it was just me, but after awhile the other dogs started to join in. They were all a bit half hearted though and just as I was wondering why these dogs had so little bark in them, the dark aura man came out of the door. I thought he was coming to me, and I kept barking with as much conviction as I could muster, but he stopped at the Westie, and ignored me. He leaned forward to untie the Westie, and without so much as a word to any of the rest of us, led the poor fellow away. I never did catch his name in all the hysteria of the moment, but I suspected he was going to a better place.
I don’t remember much about what happened next. Its all a bit of a blur really. I was thirsty and hungry. I kept weeing against the wall to try and mark a little patch, and somehow there was so much wee I couldn’t get away from it, and it started to burn my feet.
I kept barking whenever I could, because the thought occurred to me that maybe my parents had gone away again and they had left me with the wrong person. Usually when they go away they know who I like to stay with, and so I never miss them too much as I am having so much fun. The thought did cross my mind that they had made a mistake leaving me with this lot.
And then I remember waking up inside a house on wheels. The man with the black aura and the lady with the yellow hair were gazing down at me and I felt dizzy. ‘Better give im sum wahta’ said the lady. ‘Ee dun look like ees got long’ The man put a cup of water in front of me and I drank it to the last drop. I felt some strength coming back to me and I was able to stand on my feet without falling over. I noticed a dog sitting in a the next room, and made eye contact with him. Eventually he came over to say hello. I was very polite to him. Hello, my names Wallace, who are you’ I asked.
‘I’m Packet‘ he replied, ‘but I used to be called Bertrand’.
‘Why did you change your name’ I asked. ‘Well it’s a long story, and I’m not sure you have much time’ he said ominously. ‘Oh no I have plenty of time’ I replied, ‘Please do tell.’
Packet sighed and continued. ’Years ago I used to live with my family in Potters bar. One day as I was out walking, a car picked me up’
‘That’s what happened to me’ I interrupted him in my excitement. ’Yes that’s right he said. That’s what happens to a lot of dogs.’
‘But why do they pick up dogs’ I asked.
‘It’s a business you see. Some people have no money and so they set up business stealing dogs.’ I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
‘But you cant steal dogs. The police would catch them.’
‘Oh no’ said Packet. ‘The Police cant do anything because of how the law works. You see us dogs are called Chattels. That means we are possessions that belong to somebody. And in law the crime of theft is the intention to permanently deprive. So what that means is because these people don’t intend to permanently deprive the owner, they cant get prosecuted. This lot here steal about 20 dogs a week. Dogs just like yourself. They wait a week and then look for the reward posters. Average reward is between 100 and 500 quid. Some weeks they clear 5,000 pounds I have heard them say.’
I couldn’t believe my ears. In a way this was good news for me because I felt sure my dad would pay money for me to go home. ‘Trouble is’ continued Packet ‘They are not good people with dogs. So some of the dogs die before they get them either sold or returned for reward.’
‘Sold’ ‘I inquired. ‘That’s right’ he replied. ’Easy way to pick up a quick hundred I hear them say. They take a cute looking dog, much like yourself, and go into a pub in a country village with a story about how they are getting divorced and the dog needs a home and that leads to what’s called an impulse buy. Average there is around 100 pounds. This lot here get rid of loads of dogs like that.’
What about you’ I asked. ‘How come you are still here’.
‘Nora, that’s the one with the yellow hair, decided she liked me, so they have made me their pet dog, and I get fed and watered and generally looked after.’
‘What do you think will happen to me’ I asked.
‘They say your trouble. Apparently you’ve been in the newspaper, because you are a musician dog and have friends like that Thunder in my Heart singer Leo Sayer, so they are getting worried that someone might recognise you. I heard them say that they are going back to where they nicked you from to see how many reward poster are up so they know how much they can get for you from your owners.’
My ears pricked up when I heard about Leo. Me and Leo’s Yorkie Tito, were friends all my life until Tito finally went to the big kennel in the sky last year. Leo always plays with me, so my spirits picked up as I imagined him coming through the door with his big grin going ‘Walleees’
For a moment all seemed well with the world. But it was only a brief moment. The yellow haired woman and the black aura man came back into the room. ‘Right he looks better now. Take him back to the yard’, said the man. And with that I was soon back against the wall, tied to the blue rope and standing in stinking pee.
I must have gone unconscious again, because the next thing I knew I was in a car. The yellow haired woman and another younger woman with yellow hair were in the back, and the black aura man was in front with his son driving. I could hear them talking through the haze of my unwellness.
‘500 nickers not bad for this half dead mutt’ said the black aura man. ‘I’m not so sure about this one’ said the yellow haired woman. ‘Keep your eyes skinned when we get there. He was too ready with the money.’ I didn’t know what they were talking about.
It was good Friday, called good Friday because it was the day, 8 days after the day I had been kidnapped, when the silver Mercedes pulled up at Hampton Court Station, where, unbeknownst to me, my dad and mum had paid a ransom to the dark aura man and his friend and the yellow haired lady. He also had a very big friend watching the scene and photographing the kidnappers.
I felt the car stop and heard voices. My hazy vision cleared for a second and I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was my DAD…….. I got up to go towards him, but my legs gave out. I tried crawling but then my vision went. I felt the woman’s pick me up, and she pushed me towards the door, and the next thing I was back in my Dads arms. I tried hard not to be unconscious, but I just couldn’t hold my head up.
The next thing I remember I was in the bath. My dad was washing off the poo that was stuck to the side of my head. I have never been so happy to be bathed before.
And then I was back in my kitchen for a bowl of chicken with my favourite dry meal. I drank my fill for the first time in 8 days and was carried to my bed.
Over the next few days I mostly slept and tried to work out what had happened. I heard that I had lost over 10% of my body weight in 8 days. It took three days before the red holes in my pads started to heal. Apparently that’s the rotting effect cause by standing in Uric acid.
And all the while I had lots of visitors. Lots of them told me they had been praying for my safe return. I thought that was nice, but because prayer is a lot like doing nothing instead of actually mucking in and doing something real, luckily for me, lots of people did do something real. Posters were made and circulated by many of my friends. Katie Bell actually went on her own into a Travelers camp near Claygate with one of the posters, to ask if they might help return me. Quite a brave thing to do.
Four days after I returned I woke up feeling on top of the world. My pads no longer hurt, my belly no longer cramped with hunger, and my little brain, that has little regard for past or future was firmly back in the present. And that’s where I am happiest.
I learned from this that in law, I am a chattel, which is disappointing, but lucky for me, kind people helped get me home. Not all stolen dogs are as lucky. I saw pictures my dads friend had taken and they had the car registration and the details of the kidnappers. But of course, no action could be taken, because they had not committed any offense in English law.
I was told many stories about what happened while I was away.My parents day by day web page during my absence is HEREJayne who runs www.doglost.co.uk works helping dogs like me who get stolen or go missing.Jayne set up a brilliant forum section that detailed progress in efforts to get me back home. You can read all the messages posted for me here…..LINK to the WALLACE FORUM PAGEBattersea dogs home were very helpful.