'How can you steal a dog from a child?' - boy (10) devastated after puppy 'stolen by teenager'
A devastated boy has blamed himself since a teenager allegedly stole his beloved puppy, his mother has said.
Natalja Onanko has appealed for whoever snatched six-month-old pug Nika back as he is "like a child" to her family.
Natalja, who lives in Wexford town, told Independent.ie: "On Sunday I went to the shop with my son Nikita (10) and we brought his dog with the intention of going for a proper walk after.
"I went into the the Aldi in Clonard at around 3pm and my son asked me could he wait outside with the puppy, so I said no problem.
"Within a few minutes my son came in crying, really upset saying that a teenager had stolen the dog.
"He said the boy asked could he play with the dog and because he didn't know him he said no, then he said the older boy pushed him over, grabbed the dog and broke the lead off."
Natalja said that the area was busy at the time and she said some people chased after the teen but he dashed across the road, through traffic and managed to get away.
She has also thanked "a very good couple who stayed with Nikita for a while to try and calm him down, they were telling him that there are good people in the world and that we would find his dog."
Natalja said that Nikita is devastated by what happened.
She said: "Nika was a present for Nikita because he wanted a dog for so long.
"He was shaking all day after being pushed but he wasn't hurt, thankfully.
"He has kept asking since though was it his fault."
Natalja said that she suspects this isn't the first time the teen has stolen a dog and appealed for them to safely give Nika back.
She said: "The way that he can just grab someone's dog like that makes me feel like it's not his first time doing it.
"I just don't understand how you can steal a dog from a child?
"Please, just give him back to us, we just want to bring him home.
"It's very painful for all of the family, he is like a child to us."
Natalja said that the only description Nikita has of the male who allegedly stole his dog is that he is "a teenager, with fair skin and was wearing a black jacket."
She said that they have reported the incident to gardai.