Dognappers try to steal pooch from ex-boxer but come off ‘worse for wear’

A pair of "dognappers" tried to steal a 20-week-old puppy but got more than they bargained for after realising its owner is a former amateur boxer.

Pub landlord James Cosens, 29, was taking beloved pet Rosie out for a walk on the Millennium Coastal Path near Llanelli, Wales, on Friday, February 5, when he says he was threatened by two men, WalesOnline reports.

He encountered the men at the Morfa Berwig Nature Reserve near Bynea when one of them grabbed Rosie and told him they would stab him if he tried to take her back.

But the former light-heavyweight amateur fighter, who moved to the area with his wife and young son last August, put his years of sparring to good use and managed to rescue Rosie.

Mr Cosens, who is working as a security guard during lockdown as he is unable to open his pub, said: “I recently moved down here with my wife and son, at the end of July ready to re-open the pub after the initial lockdown, and everybody in this community that we have met has been so unbelievably welcoming and friendly.

“It’s such a contrast from living and working in London as I did previously, so I suppose my guard was down, so to speak.

“Even when he picked Rosie up, I didn’t really think too much of it because of the good natures of everyone we’ve met in the local area."

But he added that once the man told him, ‘if you attempt to get your dog back I will stab you’, the alarm bells were "obviously ringing!"

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Mr Cosens said: “Fight and flight is a saying that gets thrown around pretty frequently, and I wanted to pick the flight option, but it wasn’t an option without my dog.

“In order to get away safely the only thing I felt I could do is hit first to try and have the element of surprise. The first punch I threw managed to floor the man holding Rosie, but he still had a tight grip on her so the altercation moved onto the floor.

“He continued to struggle so I punched him twice more and managed to pull my dog out of his arms. During this his friend hit me four or five times from behind, but I managed to stand up, grab the dog and start making my getaway.

“Luckily for me and Rosie the guy that initially grabbed her was a little worse for wear and this ensured that we could move swiftly in the opposite direction”.

Dyfed Powys Police is said to be investigating the “extremely rare” incident.

Mr Cosens added: “I think they’re probably more used to targeting the vulnerable – the elderly, children maybe. But they saw a young pup and thought it’s worth the risk to have a go and take her.”

Police told the BBC the men were described as one being in his 40s, around 6ft tall, of stocky build, and wearing light blue jeans and a dark puffer jacket and the other in his 20s, around 5ft 6in tall, and wearing similar clothing.

Inspector Shaun Bowen, of Dyfed-Powys Police, said: “We are aware that news of this incident is causing a high level of concern among dog owners in Llanelli and the surrounding area, some of whom are now fearful of walking their pets.

“The incident in Bynea is at present isolated in terms of an individual being targeted while walking their dog, and we have received no further reports.

“We urge people to continue to take their usual safety measures while not reacting out of fear, but please do report any incidents or suspicious behaviour to us.”

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