Police have launched an urgent appeal after two litters of puppies were stolen from a dog breeder during an “appalling” overnight robbery.
A number of adult dogs, as well as puppies - some just three weeks old - were stolen from Jackson Farm on Hunters Lane in Tarleton, Lancashire, including some which were pregnant.
Thieves are believed to have broken into the kennels during the early hours of Thursday morning, stealing 22 animals in total before making off in a vehicle.
Lancashire Police said one Cockapoo puppy - believed to have been run over by the vehicle as it left the premises - was also found dead on the grounds of the farm.
Posting on Facebook, Lancashire Police described the theft as “abhorrent”, saying: “For most of us, pets are part of the family.
“This abhorrent act has clearly been motivated by greed and we appeal directly to anyone who has information to show remorse and compassion, by contacting us to reunite these loved pets.”
Sergeant Amber Yahchouchi, of Ormskirk Police, said: “This is an absolutely despicable offence undoubtedly motivated by pure greed as the dogs which were stolen were the most valuable breeds.
“The puppies had already been paid for and reserved, so there will be families and children who will be especially upset.
“We are really concerned for the welfare of these animals and we don’t know whether they will be looked after properly.
“It’s important to remember that given their young age and the fact some of the dogs are pregnant, these animals require professional care.
“If you or someone you know have been offered puppies for sale, even if you have been told they won’t be ready for a few weeks, please let us know. Some of them look very distinctive and will be easy to identify.”
The force is also asking people who are members of dog interest groups on social media to spread word of the robbery and report any information about the whereabouts of the missing animals.
Anyone with information is urged to email email@example.com or call 101 quoting incident reference 236 of 14 May, or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.