A DOG lover fears she has been conned out of £7,000 which she spent trying to save an abandoned pooch she fell for online.

Jirral Darmoise, 45, flew to Bangkok in Thailand on Sunday after a costly year-long battle to adopt a St. Bernard called Balloon.

The Oxford artist sold her possessions to pay to keep the homeless dog alive, before flying to collect him from his Thai "rescuer".

But the woman - who she fears has pocketed the cash meant to nurse "mangled" Balloon back to health - refused to hand him over.

Ms Darmoise, who set her heart on Balloon after seeing "heart-breaking" photos of him on a rescue dog's Facebook page, said: "I have spent thousands on trying to bring Balloon home and I love him so much.

"For her to refuse to hand Balloon over to me is disgusting. I'm terrified she will keep him."

She said she fears Thai authorities will throw her in jail if she tries to take Balloon by force.

She added: "I've been taken advantage of as a dog-lover. I've been conned into paying thousands.

"I handed over huge amounts of money believing it was helping Balloon get a new, happy home after everything he went through on the street, but I think this woman has pocketed the lot.

"I assumed she was a dog-lover like me - but in reality she was just a crook who wanted to exploit my good nature."

Ms Darmoise first saw Balloon in September, when the Thai "rescuer" shared a Facebook post with international rescue charity Saving Saints.

She claimed the desperate dog had been abandoned and was living wild on the streets of Bangkok, where it had become infected.

Ms Darmoise said: "When I saw the post of Balloon I was so shocked I burst into tears.

"His legs and fur were mangled and he looked like he was on death's door - it was heart-breaking.

"The woman said she had found the dog on the streets and was caring for him temporarily, but wanted him to be re-homed in the UK."

Ms Darmoise contacted Saving Saints' founder who made arrangements with the Thai woman to transfer the pup.

The pair created an online fundraising page to raise money for medical bills and flights, which Ms Darmoise wired to the "rescuer" to cure his infections and nurse him to flying health.

She set up raffles and a GoFundMe page, even selling her motorbike to afford a flight to Bangkok in January when the woman said he had contracted deadly meningitis.

She added: "I met him and the rescuer for the first time - and she seemed nice enough.

"She kept promising that she would make arrangements to fly Balloon over once he was fully recovered."

Eventually she made arrangements herself to fly with Balloon back to the UK, and last week began her £2,000 journey to bring him home.

Ms Darmoise, who is due to return to the UK on Friday, claimed that when she arrived the woman turned nasty.

She said: "She refused to hand over the dog. She said 'You're not having him and that's that'.

"I cried and begged her to hand him over as arranged, but she threatened to call the cops."

She warned others not to send money to strangers, however trustworthy they may seem.