The body of a beloved Staffordshire bull terrier has allegedly been found dumped in a river two weeks after she went missing, leaving her family devastated and pleading for answers.

There are concerns that the dog’s body was placed back in the shallow water near to where she went missing and the Metropolitan Police are now investigating the incident.

Sapphire or “Saffi” vanished on Sunday, August 20, 2023, whilst on a walk with her family in Footscray Meadows, Sidcup, and despite their efforts to find the dog she appeared to be gone without a trace.

The Missing Paw Team UK, a volunteer organization established in 2018 to assist owners in finding lost dogs based in the Greenwich, Bexley and Dartford boroughs, got to work in trying to track down Saffi.

Vicki Hudson, founder of the Missing Paw UK organisation explained: “We did an extensive search of the riverbed, and also the area in the Footscray Meadows. It's quite a vast area with 16 exits so we had lots of volunteers on board.

“We had drones up. We had a heat-seeking thermal imaging camera out which one of our colleagues at another organisation used. Essentially, we did everything we could to try and find Saffi.

“She just vanished into thin air.”

Vicki explained that Saffi’s owners even camped out near the spot that she went missing on the hopes that she would return up pick up on the scent of some of her toys and blankets that had been laid out for her.

Missing Paw Team UK’s main service is free scanning for lost but also offer telephone advice when dogs go missing and occasionally conduct physical searches, like in Saffi’s case.

The family, Missing Paw, and wider community thoroughly searched the river and wider area, but she was still not found and there were no confirmed sightings.

It was assumed that the canine had been stolen and on September 1 after 11 days of searching, the matter was reported to police as a theft.

Two days later on Sunday, September 3, the dog's broken body was found in the river where the water reached just 10 inches.

According to Vicki, her body was found near a fallen tree which partially blocked river, and it seemed unlikely that it had been forced downstream because of the natural flow of the water and how shallow it was.

The discovery was made by a member of the public around 9.45am who promptly informed the owner.

Saffi’s body was found a mere two feet away from where her family had been diligently waiting in hopes of her return and area of water could be seen by the family on their daily visits.

The Missing Paw Team UK claims that her wounds were severe, including multiple bone fractures, bruising, and puncture wounds.

Nikki explained: “The injuries do not seem consistent with drowning and then being in the water for 14 days decomposing.

“She has significant injuries that just can’t be explained and can only have been inflicted by human hands.”

There are concerns that Saffi’s body was possibly placed there after her death.

Saffi’s family are now appealing to anyone who may have seen anything suspicious at Footscray Meadows between 4.30pm on Sunday, August 20, and 10am on Sunday, September 3 2023, is urged to come forward.

Anyone who has further information should call police on 101 quoting 5618/20AUG or to remain 100 per cent anonymous, the public can call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit

You can also get in touch with The Missing Paw Team UK at or by calling 07702194148.

A spokesperson for Metropolitan Police said: “Police are investigating after a dog was stolen in Bexley and was later found fatally injured.

“On Sunday, 20 August, a dog out with her owners, disappeared at Footscray Meadows at around 16:30hrs.

“Saffi was a grey Staffordshire bull terrier.

“Despite posters being put up and local enquiries by the owners, the dog was not found or returned.

“The matter was reported to police on Friday, 1 September as a theft.

“Police enquiries were undertaken, however no viable lines of enquiry were established.

“Sadly, on the morning of Sunday, 3 September the owners returned to the area where Saffi had disappeared and found her body in shallow water. The dog had suffered a number of injuries.

“We understand the upset and distress that cases such as this cause to families. Dogs are not merely pets, they are a part of the family unit and our thoughts are with the owners at this sad time.

“At this stage there have been no arrests. Officers from South East Command investigate. Enquiries are ongoing.

“Anyone who has information should call police on 101 quoting 5618/20AUG.

“To remain 100% anonymous call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit”