Drones and sniffer dogs help find tourists’ missing dog

PUBLISHED: 11:16 20 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:16 20 August 2019

The Yates family with Lucy the Shih Tzus. Picture: Sarah Yates

The Yates family with Lucy the Shih Tzus. Picture: Sarah Yates


A community came together with drones, social media and sniffer dogs to find a family of holidaymakers’ missing dog.

Lizzie the pug, Lucy and Sophie, the Shih Tzus. Picture: Sarah YatesLizzie the pug, Lucy and Sophie, the Shih Tzus. Picture: Sarah Yates

Sarah Yates, 47, and her husband Steve, also 47, had booked a holiday in a cottage for a week in Hills Road, Saham Toney, to celebrate their 26th wedding anniversary.

They made the trip from Cheltenham, Glos, with their children Sam, 14, and Alice, 10, as well as their pet Shih Tzus Lucy, Sophie and Lizzie the pug. But while they were out shopping in Norwich, Lucy was able to escape.

Mrs Yates said: "We were having a great time and went to Norwich shopping on Wednesday, August 14 which was also our 26th Wedding Anniversary.

"We left the dogs at the cottage with the permission of the owner who agreed to call in over the course of the day to let them out into the enclosed courtyard.

Lucy the Shih Tzus. Picture: Sarah YatesLucy the Shih Tzus. Picture: Sarah Yates

"During one of these visits Lucy escaped from the courtyard under the gate. She bolted into gardens on Hills Road and made into some nearby woods."

The family returned to the village at about 4pm and the hunt for Lucy started.

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She was sighted in an area of woodland near the cottage at about 6pm but they were unable to catch her. The family kept hunting until 11pm but Lucy was no-where to be found.

That's when Watton and Saham Toney came to help.

Mrs Yates added: "The next morning we searched again. She was spotted in a front garden, later in fields off Hills Road.

"By this time, the local community were getting involved with Lucy's face all over local Facebook community sites.

"People were out in force not only from Saham Toney but Watton, Ashill and other nearby villages with binoculars, on pushbikes, so not frighten Lucy further, drones were out and sniffer dogs, this was all out of kindness and people trying to help us."

There were no further sightings and the family were set to return to Cheltenham on Saturday. Someone in Watton offered to let the family stay in their home for two weeks.

Mrs Yates added: "Saturday arrived and as a family, we were distraught. Then she was sighted in a field off Hills Road.

"I sat in the field alone on the advice of a dog expert, prepared to sit it out. Suddenly I got a call to say she had been caught by a local man in nearby fields."

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