The owner of the dogs is “deeply upset” after the yobs struck on Saturday, Manchester Evening News reports. Police, though, are reviewing this CCTV of the brazen crime in the hope to trace the dog thieves.
The video shows two men running away with two Labradors outside the supermarket in Nantwich, Cheshire.
The Labradors were tied up outside the main entrance of the store while the owner was inside shopping.
Detective Sergeant Vicki Shelton, of Cheshire Police, said: “The dogs’ owner is understandably deeply upset.
“Pets are part of the family and having them stolen is a harrowing and distressing experience.
“I would like to reassure members of the community that we take incidents of this nature extremely seriously and are doing all we can to establish who stole the dogs, make them face the consequences of their actions and have the pets returned to their rightful owner.”
The officer, leading the probe, added: “Enquiries are ongoing and I urge anyone who believes they may know the identities of the men in the CCTV footage to get in touch.
“You cannot see their faces clearly in the footage but we are hoping that some members of the public may recognise them from their builds, the clothes they were wearing and the way they run.
“We also want to hear from anyone who witnessed the dogs being stolen or has any other information that may aid our investigation.
“Perhaps you think you know where the dogs are, or have CCTV or dashcam footage that may be relevant to the investigation.”
Police say the men in the CCTV footage are both white, have average builds and short dark hair and had dark footwear on.
The man holding the dogs’ leads was wearing a dark jacket and light coloured jogging bottoms.
The man running in front of him had a black jacket and dark pants/jeans on. He was carrying a dark bag.
As the Manchester Evening News reported last week an animal charity has warned criminal gangs are behind a rise in dog thefts and illegal puppy farms because it’s a ‘low-risk, high reward’ way of making money.
And campaigners believe a surge in demand – and the price – of puppies during lockdown means stolen dogs are being used for illegal unlicensed breeding which has led to a rise in thefts.
A spokesman for Animal Protection Services, a charity set up to prosecute illegal breeders, said: “Many groups are switching from drugs to puppies because there is so little enforcement.
“The law about licensing breeders is supposed to be enforced by local authorities, but they have only brought a handful of cases.”