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Family’s £4k reward after pets among 17 stolen dogs

Stolen: Six of the dogs taken from the boarding kennels PICTURES: SWNS

A ‘DISTRAUGHT’ family is offering a £4,000 reward for their two beloved pets — among 17 dogs and puppies stolen from a kennels.

Melissa Murfet and Darren Neal dropped their three dogs Annie, Betsy and Storm at the kennels last Thursday morning before heading off with their four children to their holiday lodge for the weekend.

But just hours later the couple got a devastating call to say the animal care centre had been broken into — and Annie and Betsy were among 17 dogs snatched.

The daytime raid on Fiveways Boarding Kennels and Cattery in Barton Mills, Suffolk, saw 13 puppies stolen — some of which were not old enough to be separated from their mothers.

The theft has forced the family kennels to close its doors, as Suffolk Police investigate and appeal for witnesses to come forward.

Meanwhile, Melissa and Darren are offering £2,000 per dog for the safe return of chocolate-coloured cocker spaniel Annie, and grey and white cockapoo Betsy, to their home in Chippenham near Newmarket.

In an anxious post on Facebook, Melissa, 39, wrote: ‘We need to get them home.

‘We know they will be scared and anxious if they are not together and not with people who love them.

‘We are worried about what conditions they are being kept in and know they will be scared.

‘They are much loved family pets missed by us and our children, who are also distraught that someone has them.’

Melissa added: ‘More dogs and puppies were also stolen from the kennels on Thursday when Annie and Betsy were taken, and dogs from another local kennel were stolen on Friday.

‘This was a well-established, secure, safe kennels where the owners love our dogs as much as their own.

‘This has to stop. These low-lives know exactly what they are doing but they don’t understand the devastation for our families.

‘We are offering £2,000 for each dog, no questions asked. Please return them or release them to be found and returned home.’

Sarah Francis, who runs Fiveways Kennels with her husband and daughters, has described the dog thieves as ‘vile people’.

She told a local newspaper: ‘They see them as just a financial gain, they don’t see them as our forever friends or beloved pets.

‘One of the litters they stole they left the mother behind, and now it is likely they won’t survive without her there to feed and support them.

‘These kinds of people won’t be giving the puppies the round-the-clock care they need.’

The stolen dogs included two female Lhasa apsos — one black and white, one honey and white.

Seven lhasa apso puppies were also taken — one honey-coloured and three black-and-white males, and two black-and-white females.

And a litter of six, five-week-old Labradors — two yellow-coated males, two black males and two black females — were also taken from Fiveways.

Suffolk Police believe the incident took place last Thursday between 3.45pm and 7.10pm.

They think the thieves entered the kennels from fields at the rear and removed hinges from gates. The dogs were housed in a purpose-built kennel.

Police say another dog was also stolen in the area, last Monday.

The cocker spaniel, named Penny, was taken between 1pm and 2.20pm from the garden of a farm in Holywell Row.

It had been left in a pen in the garden, and had black fur with a white bib and lip.

Police are investigating both incidents and have not ruled a connection.

Anyone with knowledge of either theft, or who knows the whereabouts of any of the dogs, should contact Mildenhall police.