A DOG of a man reported missing may have gnawed on dead sheep bones to stay alive on the moors say police.
The body of a man, believed to be the missing Tavistock man Alistair Conhey, was found on Sunday in a pond on Dartmoor.
The man, believed to be 76, was reported missing by concerned neighbours at Silent Woman Park residential estate on Tuesday February 11.
His dog Rory, a black and white border collie, returned to Mr Conhey’s home on Friday.
Neighbours said he appeared hungry but not overly dishevelled. He has been staying at Wingletang Rescue and Rehoming Centre on Brentor Road in Heathfield since then.
Sergeant Dave Anning, based in Tavistock, said: “Rory was a bit bedraggled but not in a terrible state.
“He seems very well and good natured - a lovely dog. He will make a good pet to whoever takes him on. It is just unfortunate that he has lost his owner.”
It is not known how long the dog was roaming on the moors for before returning to the residential park situated off Mount Tavy Road.
Mr Conhey’s next door neighbour June Walters told The Herald that she had not seen the missing man since February 4, some 12 days before the body was found.
Chewed animals bones were found near where the body was located.
Sgt Anning added: “Nearby to the pond, we found some old sheep bones and they had been gnawed recently. It is possible that Rory could have chewed on them for a while to try and get sustenance. We are not entirely sure but it is likely.”
Rory is thought to be around 4-years-old and a former rescue dog.
Police said Mr Conhey seemed to have owned a number of black and white border collie’s over the years, giving all of them the name Rory.
Neighbour Mrs Walters said the dog was well cared for.
“What I can say about him [Mr Conhey] is he looked after that dog,” she said. “It was taken out three times a day and he was well fed.”
Police have not been able to track down any next of kin for Mr Conhey and so will be seeking to identify the body medically.