The 29-year-old father and pub landlord was threatened by two men on Millennium Coastal Path near Llanelli in Carmarthenshire while walking his 20-week-old collie Rosie. James claims the two men threatened to stab him as they tried to steal his puppy. Dyfed Powys Police is investigating the “extremely rare” incident which took place last Friday.
Mr Cosens said his dog Rosie was grabbed by one of the men at the Morfa Berwig Nature Reserve near Bynea – and he was told they would stab him if he tried to take her back.
The incident occurred in the middle of the day.
The former light-heavyweight amateur fighter used skills learned in the ring to fend off the dognappers and rescue puppy Rosie.
Despite the threats of violence from the attackers James was able to rescue Rosie.
James posted details of the attack on social media to warn others. He said he has also contacted his local MP Nia Griffith.
Police have warned of a rise in dog theft amid a surge in demand for puppies during lockdown.
Some criminals have even pretended to be from animal charities such as the RSPCA in a bid to steal pets.
Last year, MPs debated two petitions urging the government to make pet theft a specific offence after a record number of animals were stolen by thieves.
Police told the BBC one of the men who tried to steal Rosie were described as one being in his 40s, around 6ft tall, of stocky build, and wearing light blue jeans and a dark puffer jacket. The other in his 20s, around 5ft 6in tall, and wearing similar clothing.
Inspector Shaun Bowen, of Dyfed-Powys Police, said: “We are aware that news of this incident is causing a high level of concern among dog owners in Llanelli and the surrounding area, some of whom are now fearful of walking their pets.”
“The incident in Bynea is at present isolated in terms of an individual being targeted while walking their dog, and we have received no further reports.”
“We urge people to continue to take their usual safety measures while not reacting out of fear, but please do report any incidents or suspicious behaviour to us.”
Additional reporting by Nino Williams.