Devastated dog owners have been left “utterly heartbroken” after seven cocker spaniel puppies and their mother were stolen – with the pups valued at up to £2,000 EACH.
The litter of adorable black puppies was taken from a caravan by cruel thieves last Wednesday (July 22), between 1.30 and 2.30pm.
The puppies, which were taken from Setchell Drove in Cottenham, Cambs., are estimated to be worth up to a whopping £14,000 altogether.
Their mother was also taken from the caravan, along with a wallet – and the owners of the family of dogs are “heartbroken”.
The theft is the latest in a spate of stolen dog incidents across Cambridgeshire over the last couple of months.
And Cambridgeshire Police is now warning dog owners to be extra vigilant about keeping an eye on their pets.
Detective Sergeant Ashley Ryan, of the force’s southern burglary team, said: “The owners are utterly heartbroken and extremely concerned for the welfare of their dogs.
“I’m urging anyone who has been offered a similar looking dog, or knows someone who has, to get in touch.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 quoting reference 35/48592/20 alternatively report online www.cambs.police.uk/report.
Across Cambridgeshire, there have been six other dog theft incidents in the last two months.
On May 3, two cocker spaniels were stolen from Bluntisham, but were found and returned to their rightful owners following a warrant in Willingham on June 5.
On May 13, a cocker spaniel was stolen from Stow Cum Quy.
And on May 21, a spaniel was stolen from Newborough, Peterborough, but returned after a social media campaign by the owners.
Two major dog thefts in June saw nine dogs stolen from Horningsea on June 11 – with one was found close by shortly after – and a cocker spaniel stolen from Wilburton on June 23.
And on July 3, there was an attempt to steal dogs in Haddenham.
A rise in the prices paid for dogs is believed to be behind the thefts.
Dog owners are advised to keep an ID tag on their dog at all times, and lock gates using bolts at the top and bottom, along with a heavy-duty padlock.
It is advised to never leave your pet unattended in the garden, and to ensure there are no places where dogs or other animals can escape or be pulled through, if they are left in a back garden.
Garden gates should be fitted with a bell or gate alarm which makes a sound when someone opens it, and driveway alarms should be purchased to alert dog owners to any visitors.
Dogs should be microchipped and their details updated, so that they can be returned if they are stolen and subsequently found.
And owners should avoid leaving a dog tied up outside a shop or left alone in a car, even for a few minutes.
Dog thefts should be reported to police straight away, and as many photos as possible provided to prove ownership if it is stolen and then found.