In September 2009, Deutsche Bank employee Victoria Huxter's colleague, Ian Whittaker, asked her if she'd like to adopt his family's dog, a lab named Bailey. Whittaker and his wife, an apparently irresponsible woman named Leslye, hadn't realized having two dogs (plus a horse) would be a lot of work and wanted to get rid of one, like yesterday's trash. Huxter accepted and immediately fell in love with the pup, who she renamed Bella, finding it "more suitable for a female." About two seconds later, Mrs. Whittaker realized she'd made a terrible mistake in abandoning her fur baby and demanded the dog back, thinking things work that way. When the Huxter declined, Leslye called the cops, who told her she was crazy and the dog was no longer hers. Still pissed about the situation nearly two years later, the couple recently proceeded with a rationale course of action that involved hiring a pet detective, who lured Bella's walker to a park, where he stole the dog and had a camera crew film the entire thing.
When Mrs Fairbairn Millward, who walks using a stick, arrived with Bella, a man approached them and began to stroke the dog. Simultaneously, a film crew of three people appeared, following investigator Mr Butcher, who runs a private investigation agency based in Cranleigh, Surrey, called The Pet Detectives. 'I was so bewildered and intimidated by the fact they all appeared so quickly that there was nothing I could do to stop them taking Bella away.’
Ms Huxster, who lives in Battersea, has had Bella since September 2009, when she was given the dog as a gift by Mr Whittaker, a former colleague at her previous firm. He told her that although he and his wife loved the dog, then called Bailey, they already had one labrador and were finding it difficult to cope with two. Ms Huxster said she thought it over for a month before agreeing to take the dog. In emails seen by The Mail on Sunday, Mrs Whittaker, director of equity sales at Deutsche Bank, said she was happy to give the dog to Ms Huxster, and described the pair as a ‘great match’. However, days later Mr Whittaker said the couple had changed their minds. When Ms Huxster refused to give the dog back, Mrs Whittaker complained to the police that her dog had been stolen.
Ms Huxster said: ‘Ian was very embarrassed about his wife’s behaviour because he and I still worked together. Our colleagues thought it was terrible. When the police called me, they were satisfied that she’d been given to me as a gift so the case was closed.’ Solicitors for the two parties corresponded, but since the end of November 2009 Ms Huxster has heard nothing further from the couple. ‘I assumed they had accepted the dog was mine,’ she said.
Clearly she'd underestimated what kind of animals she was dealing with.