Dog nicknamed Ben-Hur has wheelchair stolen
15:00 13 December 2012
A wheelchair which belonged to a disabled dog dubbed the Ben-Hur of Hampstead Heath has been stolen from his family’s front garden.
Cerebus, an eight-year-old boxer, was diagnosed with a degenerative spinal disease that rendered him paralysed in his back legs this summer.
Since then the helpless hound has relied on a specially made dog chariot designed for his weight and size to help him get around.
He has even become something of a celebrity on Hampstead Heath much to the amusement of other canines unsure whether Cerebus is half dog, half machine.
But last Thursday, December 6 the wheelchair was snatched from his owners’ front garden in Wildwood Road, Hampstead Garden Suburb, between 1pm and 4pm.
The contraption is of no use to any other dog apart from Cerebus, who takes his name from Cerberus, a multi-headed hound which guarded the gates of Hades in Greek mythology.
Cerebus’s owner Olivier Levenfiche said his wife Tania and four children, including six-year-old Didier, have been left devastated by the theft.
Mr Levenfiche said: “We can’t believe it. That chariot was made especially for Cerebus.
“How could anyone come into our home and steal something from a disabled dog?
“It’s like tipping an old lady out of a wheelchair.”
Cerebus uses his front legs to ride along when he is fixed into the cart on wheels. Without his wheelchair he cannot go for walks or even get to his food bowl in his home.
Mr Levenfiche said: “It is of no use to anyone. It’s just so cruel. They have deprived a disabled dog.
“Before he had his chariot he would not have been able to go out. This gave him back his life.
“It is like stealing a wheelchair from a grandmother. The children are so upset over it.”
Luckily, dog-wheelchair maker Jim Colla, of Dogswheels.com, heard about Cerebus’, plight and showed pity on the pooch dropping him off a custom-made new set of wheels for free.
The Levenfiche’s have thanked Mr Colla for his kindness and are offering a reward of £200 if the wheelchair is returned, which will be donated to a charity.