The public has been urged to spread the word, to help recover five basset hounds stolen overnight from a Leicestershire kennels.
The working bassets, belonging to the Westerby Basset Hounds, were taken when their kennels were broken into on Wednesday night (17 February).
Kennel huntsman Sophie Cripps said the theft is “truly devastating for everyone involved” and appealed to the public for help in the search for their safe return.
“We urge as many people as possible to raise awareness and help us to bring these hounds back home to our kennels with the rest of the pack,” she said.
All the hounds are microchipped and staff are asking the public to alert vets to keep an eye out for them, should they be handed in.
Polly Portwin, of the Countryside Alliance, said it is incredibly sad news.
“These are working basset hounds that are part of a pack and the perpetrators of this evil crime must be brought to justice and the hounds returned home swiftly,” she said.
“This latest theft is sadly one of a number of recent thefts of dogs and working breeds that we are witnessing across the country. We urge all dog owners to be incredibly vigilant in our ongoing fight against these criminals.”
The Westerby Bassets’ country extends from Melton Mowbray to Daventry, and from Nuneaton to Uppingham. They descend from the Walhampton Basset Hounds, founded in 1889 by Christopher and Godfrey Heseltine at Lymington in the New Forest.
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All dog owners have been urged to be alert owing to the rise in the number of people reporting dog thefts in recent months.
A spokesman for Animal Search, a leading search service for missing pets in the United Kingdom, said there has been a “huge rise” in dog thefts reported to them.
“Demand has skyrocketed because of lockdown, where people now have more time to spend with their new pets and train them,” he added.
The Countryside Alliance has also issued advice for working dog and dog theft prevention
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