Press pack chases its own tail in search of Mourinho's dog

How many journalists does it take to find one very pampered celebrity pooch?

A fair few of Fleet Street’s finest, apparently.

Press Gazette has learned that at least 12 reporters from TV networks, radio stations and newspapers were dispatched to find Chelsea manager José Mourinho’s elusive yorkshire terrier Leya. It appeared to go missing after immigration officials visited his home investigating a suspected breach of quarantine laws on Tuesday night last week.

Initially the Portuguese firebrand said he had let the dog run away to escape capture by the authorities. But Mourinho, who was arrested for obstructing police enquiries and later released with a caution, had apparently given the immigration officials, and journalists, the slip. The dog was already on its way to Portugal.

Nevertheless, the next day the Daily Mirror dispatched three reporters to the story, and journalists from The Sun, the Daily Telegraph, the Evening Standard, The Times, National News Agency and Press Association were also on the scent.

Reporters from Radio 1’s Newsbeat and Sky News were also on the case – a satellite van parked at the end of the street was testament to the story’s global importance.

One newshound who covered the story, and asked not to be named, said: ‘You know it’s a dead news day when you have six journalists interviewing a dog warden from Westminster Council in a desperate attempt to find a new angle on a lost dog. But it’s a great animal story in the run-up to the silly season.”

A national newspaper reporter doggedly pursuing the tale, who also asked not to be named, was not as enthusiastic. He said most reporters were simply stood around outside Mourinho’s house waiting for him to emerge, suspecting the dog itself would already be on a plane out of the country. ‘I was sent out to pound the streets looking for the dog, which no one really wanted to do because it’s ridiculous,’he said. ‘It comes close to one of the worst jobs I’ve ever been sent on.”

Mourinho said his wife and children had moved back to Portugal briefly because of the intense media interest. He added: ‘Yes, London is safe, the streets are crime free now the dog is back in Portugal.”

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