Trainer of support dog promised to local disabled girl is arrested over faked kidnapping

Pocahontas photographed by police after the kidnap ordeal.
Pocahontas photographed by police after the kidnap ordeal. / SUR
  • The man has said he was hiding it from somebody he owed money to and now Clara from Estepona must wait another month before she can finally receive her canine support

When news broke last week that a black labrador dog that was being trained for a disabled girl from Estepona had been stolen, many people took to social media to try and track down the thieves and the animal, called Pocahontas.

As reported in SUR in English last week (24 January), the charity arranging the training was offering an 800-euro reward so that Clara, 15, who has spinal muscular atrophy, could get her promised canine support.

This week the story took a dramatic turn when the trainer was held for faking the story of the theft and hiding Pocahontas at his home.

Police say they became suspicious of the man's story when they checked CCTV footage of where the theft was supposed to have taken place, in Aranjuez, near Madrid. Officers saw no sign of the man or the dog.

The trainer had said that he had been held up at a pedestrian crossing, when two people jumped out of the back of a van and snatched his wallet and Pocahontas. Police suspicions were confirmed when he used one of his supposedly stolen credit cards to pay for a transaction.

The man claims he hid the dog from somebody else who had threatened to take it in repayment of a debt.

Clara, who was about to take possession of the labrador, now has to wait one extra month while the charity carries out additional training after the kidnap ordeal.