A family is offering £4,000
as a reward for finding their two pets, which were among a haul of 17 dogs and puppies stolen from a kennels. Melissa Murfet and Darren Neal dropped their three dogs Annie, Betsy, and Storm off at the kennels last Thursday, before heading off with their four children to their holiday lodge for the weekend. But just hours later, that evening, the couple got a call to say that the animal care centre had been broken into – and Annie and Betsy were among 17 dogs stolen. The daytime raid on Fiveways Boarding Kennels and Cattery in Barton Mills, Suffolk, saw 13 puppies stolen – some of which were not yet old enough to be apart from their mothers.
The devastating theft has forced the family kennels to close its doors, as Suffolk Police investigate the incident and appeal for witnesses to come forward. Meanwhile, Melissa and Darren are offering £2000 each for the safe return of chocolate-coloured cocker spaniel Annie, and grey and white cockapoo Betsy, to their home in Chippenham, near Newmarket.
In a 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 and missed family pets 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 £2000 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.’ As well as Annie and Betsy, the stolen dogs included two female Lhasa apso dogs – one black and white, one honey and white coloured. Seven lhasa apso puppies were also stolen – one honey-coloured and three black and white-coloured males, and two black and white-coloured females.
And a litter of six, five-week-old Labradors – two yellow-coloured males, two black-coloured males, and two black-coloured females – were also taken from Fiveways Kennels. Suffolk Police believe the incident took place on July 9, some time between 3.45pm and 7.10pm. They believe the thieves entered the kennels from fields at the rear of the site, and removed hinges from gates to steal the dogs. The dogs were housed in a purpose-built kennel on the site. Police say another dog was also recently stolen in the area on July 6. The cocker spaniel, named Penny, was taken at some point between 1pm and 2.20pm, from the garden of a farm in Holywell Row. The dog was left in a pen enclosure in the garden. She has black fur with a white bib and lip markings. Police are investigating both incidents and have not ruled a connection between the two. Anyone with any knowledge of either theft, or knows of the whereabouts of any of the dogs, should contact Mildenhall police.