A devastated Dagenham family have received a number of hoax calls claiming to have "stabbed" their lost pet.

Yorkshire Terrier Perla went missing from Whalebone Lane South on January 31 after strong winds blew open the garden gate.

Since then, owner Inga Cizeikiene has been frantically trying to find the three-year-old dog, who she has owned since Perla was a puppy.

%image(14869969, type="article-full", alt="Perla is "like a daughter" to owner Inga")

However, the family said they have received multiple hoax calls from people claiming to have seen, or even killed, Perla.

Inga's sister Indre Jankauskiene, who lives nearby, told this paper: "The whole family is devastated, we just don't understand why people would do this.

"How can they get joy out of other people's pain? It's sick that people are making jokes like this.

"When we get the calls we can hear people laughing and joking in the background.

"We can't even bare to tell Inga about them all or she will be too upset."

%image(14869970, type="article-full", alt="Yorkshire Terrier Yorkas has been "stressed" since Perla went missing")

Indre explained Perla is like a daughter to her sister, who has two teenage sons.

The family's other terrier Yorkas has been stressed and not eating since Perla went missing, Indre said.

The worried owners are appealing for any information about Perla's whereabouts, and say she is a "friendly" dog who loves human contact.

%image(14869972, type="article-full", alt="Inga Cizeikiene and her teenage sons are worried about their missing dog Perla")

"I don't know how the stress of being on the streets will have affected her though," Indre added.

"I'm worried someone will have found her and decided to keep her, she is such a beautiful dog."

%image(14869973, type="article-full", alt="The family has received cruel calls claiming Perla has died")

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, it is illegal to keep a stray dog without searching for their owners.

According to animal charity Blue Cross, anyone who finds a stray dog must make an attempt to reunite them with their owner if they know who they are, or report them to the dog warden if they do not.

%image(14869970, type="article-full", alt="Yorkshire Terrier Yorkas has been "stressed" since Perla went missing")

When she went missing Perla was wearing a pink hairband in her hair and no collar, though she is microchipped.

If you have any information please contact Indre on 07517 595356.

%image(14869974, type="article-full", alt="Perla was wearing a pink hairband when she went missing")

For more information join Perla's Facebook group here or follow her story on Instagram.