BUDDY the border collie is back home where he belongs after a gang of intoxicated youths allegedly stole him from the yard of his Ebbw Vale owners on Tuesday.
The much-loved four-year-old pet was then taken on a frightening train journey from Ebbw Vale to Redbank by the five alleged thieves but quick thinking from his owner Rosemary Denton, police and Queensland Rail scuppered their attempts to make off with Buddy and another stolen dog.
Ms Denton's grandchildren were in tears at the initial loss of Buddy but were over the moon to have him back safe and sound.
The theft of the dogs was brazen.
"We were having dinner and I put the scraps in his bowl, and normally he'd be right there," Ms Denton said.
"Then we couldn't find him and we were calling him. We could hear him barking and then we could see a group of five youths between the ages of 13 and 17 holding him down.
"As the train came they picked him up and put him on the train."
Ms Denton called Triple-O, jumped in the car and drove to Dinmore station.
"We were heading to Riverview when the police rang us back and said they had our dog and the people who took him at Redbank," she said.
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"Police asked me if I wanted the people who stole Buddy charged with stealing and I said, 'Hell, yeah'."
The alleged thieves had another dog with them and were heading towards the city.
Police had contacted Queensland Rail, who kept the train at Redbank. When police arrived they were able to apprehend the offenders and retrieve the dogs.
The five youths have been charged with theft and all of them were under the influence of an intoxicating substance.
Inspector Keith McDonald said the return of the dogs was a combined effort.
"It was great work by all involved - the public for ringing in, Queensland Rail and police," he said.
"We got onto RSPCA to locate the owners of the second dog...and it is my understanding that dog has been returned to its owner as well."
Insp McDonald said there was no truth to the rumour that the dogs had been pinched to take part in dog fighting. Ms Denton said the family was thrilled to have Buddy back. "I will be taking him up to our house at Tin Can Bay so nobody can get him," she said.
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