As many as six dogs have been stolen from their homes in Devon in a spate of pre-Christmas thefts.
Police in the county are appealing for information after receiving three reports of dog thefts since 15 December, half of which were pedigree cocker spaniels.
In the first incident, three pedigree cocker spaniels were taken from kennels in North Molton between 9am and 5pm on 15 December.
One was a female, seven-year-old black Devonshire Faith spaniel, the second, an 18-month-old black Hillside Harriet female with a white bib, and the third dog was a gold Badgeberry Troufseau Hope spaniel.
On the same day, also in North Molton, between 7pm and 9pm, a cocker spaniel called Ivy was taken from the rear garden from her kennel.
She was found dead at Bommertown Cross at approximately 8am the following morning.
In the third incident, at around 10am on 17 December, a female chocolate brown cocker spaniel and a female black and white spaniel were reported missing from the South Molton area.
Investigating Officer PC Steve Theobald said: “We are very concerned about the welfare of these dogs and urge the public to come forward with information.
“The owners are all aware of the incidents and are understandably shocked and upset by this.
“Enquiries are ongoing to locate the suspect/s and we are currently looking through CCTV.
“We would urge anyone who knows anything to get in touch with police immediately. We are also advising dog owners to be vigilant, especially those with Cocker spaniel breeds, and to make sure their dogs are safe and secure and to report any suspicious activity to police.”
Anyone with information should email [email protected] or call 101 quoting reference CR/108644/17.