A heartbroken Swindon family continuing a months-long search for a missing therapy dog have been targeted by cruel blackmailers.

The Albans' - desperate for news of beloved Chihuahua cross Stan - received a vile calls from someone asking for money for the pet's return - or they would "slit it's throat". 

Stan and his brother Snoop helped 21-year-old Harry Albans with his epilepsy. But Stan went missing on February 14 while out on a walk with Harry's mother Rachael when he was allegedly attacked by another dog and slipped his lead in the commotion.  

Since then Rachael, 54, has conducted an extensive search for the missing dog, but as time has gone by the impact of Stan's disappearance - not just on Harry but the whole family - has become greater and greater. 

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Swindon Advertiser: Harry and StanHarry and Stan

This has been made worse by frequent calls from the same unknown ID targeting the family attempting to blackmail them into paying up money for Stan's return, or they will kill him. 

"I’ve had several calls from a no caller ID number. The caller states where Stan was attacked, where he picked him up and gives a very detailed description - all of this information is on the posters," she said. 

"He said I need to transfer £500 and meet him with another £500 or he will slit Stan’s throat and we will never see him again.

"The calls come through anytime of day but more recently 3am to 4am. It's the same person every time. I normally put the phone down but have now been advised to get bank details if possible."

Rachael believes that the calls are coming from a gang targeting missing dog owners all over the country. 

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In a recording of Rachael's blackmailer posted on a lost pet Facebook group by another victim, he can be heard saying he won't send a picture because "it can be traced back to him." He later says "I won't call back, you will never see your dog again."

Despite the cruelty of the scammers, Rachael remains defiant that she will not give up until the lost dog is reunited with her son. 

"We will carry on searching until we have reason not to," she said.

"The poster campaign has now gone to the south west and we are widening the search as far as possible."

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