CALLOUS conmen targeted a desperate Leamington family searching for their lost dog – even threatening to kill the animal.
Linda Lissman and her family have been searching far and wide for lost beagle Jake since he went missing last December.
But hope he had been found turned to devastation when it emerged cruel scammers were trying to con the family out of money.
They emailed Linda and responded to her online appeals saying they had found Jake but later demanded £210 for food and then threatened to poison him.
Linda branded the conman ‘sick’ and said she had contacted police who had traced the email to Kenya.
She said the scammer must have trawled the internet to find her email as she had only posted it on one website.
The first falteringly written email Linda received said: “Hello I found your family Beagle around my area and I can help you out by sending him back to you if you don’t mind get back to me as soon as possible so we can make arrangement sending him back.”
But things took a sinister turn when Linda replied offering to collect Jake only to be told by the scammer that they would use DHL or Fedex to send the animal.
When they subsequently asked for money Linda offered to pay on collection at which point the scammer sent this chilling message:
“Since I don’t hear from you and the beagle food is too expensive and I don’t think I can bear it anymore maybe I will kill him or I should drop him inside a river close to my house.”
More than 500 people have joined a Facebook group set up to help find Jake, who went missing on December 27 last year at the Greenway, near Berkswell train station.
The family took Jake on from the Dogs Trust two years ago.
Anyone who thinks they have spotted Jake should visit the Search continues for Jake the Beagle Facebook page.