29 November 2023

Family's plea for beloved French bulldog to be returned after sudden disappearance

| Keeli Royle
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Axell and Luna the missing dog.

Axell is missing his best friend after the family pup suddenly disappeared. Photo: Supplied.

A Dapto family has been left devastated after their beloved French bulldog was seemingly snatched from their backyard and disappeared without a trace.

Amy May O’Gorman and Josh Byrne are still holding onto hope that their treasured pup, and their son’s best friend Luna, will be returned home after she went missing mid-November.

The couple were away for a few days at another property when they received a frantic call from a family member who was looking after their dogs, with the shocking news that between the time she had left for work and returned, Luna had gone.

“It didn’t feel real at all,” Josh said. “When we got home and her not being in the backyard, we just wanted to believe she was still there, but she wasn’t.”

“I was just shocked,” Amy said. “For the first two days I was just thinking that she was going to come home or someone was going to come forward.”

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But with their grief, came the realisation that something wasn’t adding up.

How could Luna have escaped and not the two other dogs that were in the yard?

“Instantly that was the first thing, if one got out, they all would’ve got out,” Josh said. “Straightaway I thought she had been stolen for sure.”

They were also concerned that no neighbour or person in a nearby shop or passing vehicle had seen her at all, unlike when a contractor had accidentally let the dogs out once before and they received three phone calls within 15 minutes.

And despite their efforts, they were only met with dead ends.

“We were just looking everywhere for about a week,” Amy said.

“At the end of the first week we thought we needed to do something else because we flew a drone up over the houses and the streets and everything.”

Luna the missing French bulldog.

Luna has been missing since 13 November.

They contacted Arthur and Co Pet Detectives to hopefully find something that they might have missed, with the agency still reviewing the case.

“At this stage we’re considering all options,” Anne-Marie from Arthur and Co said. “We’re considering that she has escaped the yard and met misadventure and her body hasn’t been found, we’re considering that she has escaped the yard and has been picked up by someone and we’re considering that she’s been picked up by someone while safely contained in her yard.

“The only real indication that we have that she is stolen is that there is no obvious escape from the yard, although we have known animals to escape where it didn’t appear that they could.”

As well as an understanding of pet behaviour, the services the agency can offer vary depending on packages and price points.

“There’s obviously the standard stuff that you’d expect like posters and flyers and then there’s the more high-tech stuff that can be done like covert surveillance, house-to-house enquiries by an experienced pet detective or licensed private investigator, retrieval and review of any CCTV that we’re able to obtain, then there’s covert trail cameras, thermal drones, drain robots, trackers and those sorts of things as well,” Anne-Marie said.

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But even with their expertise and thousands of people around the region seeing and sharing posts online, there is still no sign of Luna and it’s breaking her family’s hearts.

“The saddest thing is it’s not only affecting us as a family, it’s also affecting the other dogs and our son too because Luna was his best friend,” Amy said.

And now they’re forced to watch their other pets suffer the loss as well.

“We’ve got videos of the dogs at the backdoor, tears rolling out of her eyes; I’ve never seen a dog cry like that before, it’s something else,” Josh said. “And she doesn’t sleep in her bed, she sleeps at the gate.”

They’re determined to find Luna and keep up the momentum of the search.

“We haven’t given up; every night, every day we’re going through the social media, still doing laps around trying to find something,” Amy said.

“I just pray that someone comes forward, even if it’s too late in a sense, I hope just for closure someone comes forward so we know that she’s either at rest or she is somewhere and we can make a move.”

Anyone with any information is urged to contact Arthur and Co Pet Detectives through their website, with the option to remain anonymous.

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