Surrey Police are hunting for a pair of cocker spaniel puppies stolen by two people who faked an interest in buying them.
The dogs were snatched from a property in Farnham at the weekend and a third puppy was also stolen from Sunbury-on-Thames but has since been found.
Investigating officers have released photos of the missing puppies and appealed to the public to help find them.
"Officers have been busy investigating the thefts of three puppies that occurred over the weekend across the county, in two incidents that are believed to be linked," Surrey Police said.
"A chihuahua puppy was stolen from an address in Sunbury-on-Thames on Saturday and two cocker spaniel puppies were stolen from an address in Farnham on Sunday.
"Officers have been investigating extensively and yesterday successfully recovered the stolen chihuahua puppy. Sadly, the two cocker spaniel puppies have not yet been located," the statement added.
Last year the government said a new criminal offence for pet abduction would be introduced under plans to crack down on pet theft which rose sharply during lockdown.
The new law recognises "the welfare of animals and that pets are valued as more than property," the government said.
A special Pet Theft Taskforce found that seven in 10 of animal thefts recorded by police involve dogs.
Evidence suggests that around 2,000 dog theft crimes were reported to police in 2020, causing considerable distress for owners and their pets alike.
A 39-year-old woman and a 17-year-old boy from Reading have been arrested in connection with the Surrey thefts.
If you have seen the puppies, know where they are, or have any information, please contact us quoting PR/45220065005 via DM on social media or by calling 101.
If you do not wish to leave your name, please call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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