A therapy dog stolen from a 12-year-old girl with autism has been found dead.
Lottie, a three-year-old Dalmatian, was stolen from the home of Chloe Hopkins in Peatling Parva, Leicestershire, last December.
The theft sparked a social media campaign to find the dog.
But on Monday, Chloe’s mother, Gemma Hopkins, wrote on Facebook that Lottie had been found dead.
She wrote: “This is something I'd never thought I'd have to post, in fact I'm not sure it has sunk in.
“Yesterday morning we got the call we didn’t want, Lottie has been found but passed away.
“Having to identify her was the hardest thing I've done by miles and I cannot thank everyone enough for the shares of posters via social media.
“I've now got to break my 12-year-old’s heart tonight. We are all heartbroken, we never wanted this ending, we kept hopeful, goodbye my crazy bunch of spots.”
Gemma told the BBC they were told about Lottie’s death in a phone call on Sunday after the dog’s microchip was scanned by a vet.
The family are waiting to hear of the circumstances of Lottie’s death.
Gemma, who previously described Lottie as her daughter’s “best friend”, said she has since informed Chloe about her pet’s death.
The Dalmatian, who needed specialist food for a liver condition, was taken on 1 December after thieves broke into the family home.