A mother-of-one has spoken about the moment she was held at knifepoint in her own home over a litter of puppies, who were stolen before her eyes.
Samantha Stewart, 25, was threatened with a knife in her home in Kings Norton, Birmingham after masked intruders made their way through the back door of the property.
She could only look on as the five English Bulldog puppies, all four weeks old, were taken and her beloved dog, Polly, the pups' mum, was kicked in the head.
Samantha Stewart (pictured) was threatened at knife point in her home in Birmingham
The two intruders stole away through the back door of the home, and a third offender was waiting on the other side of the fence to receive the pups.
The incident happened days after the pups were advertised for sale on Facebook for between £3,000 and £4,000.
Ms Stewart told Birmingham Live that the incident has left her shaken and that Polly now cries for her pups and is 'devastated' by her loss.
'I walked back in, I locked my door, I walked straight through my house to the back door,' she said. 'I opened the back door and the dog ran out into the back garden.
'I came back into make a coffee, and I saw something move out the corner of my eye. As I turned around there were two [men] in my kitchen, with masks on.
The five pups, just four weeks old at the time, were taken on June 10 by three offenders
The puppies had not even been named when they were stolen from their home in Birmingham
'The one was screaming: 'Give me the puppies, shut up.' He grabbed me, got the knife and shouted at me for my phone.
'The knife was not far away from me, I kind of threw the phone. I just wanted them to go, there was nothing else for them to take.
'The dog cage was in the kitchen and [the second man] was just leaning over. The dog (Polly) went for the smaller boy, and as she went for him, he kicked her in the face, she just ran behind me.
'I thought there were just the two boys, but my neighbours came out and saw the two boys in my garden were putting the pups over the fence to the other boy who was putting them in the bag.
The mother-of-one said she was shaken by the incident which happened on June 10
'They then ran down Druids Lane way towards Walker's Heath Park and ran through towards the top of the Fold.
'It was horrendous. I was shaking after. I felt sick, I couldn't sleep. I was scared. I've never been in that situation in my life, ever.'
Over the course of lockdown, dog thefts have increased by almost a fifth.
Staffordshire bull terriers, chihuahuas and cocker spaniels are among the most sought-after breeds being targeted by dognappers who are looking to cash in during the pandemic.
Last month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that his government is looking at tough punishments for thieves or people who abandon their pets.
Plans to prosecute people under animal welfare laws instead of the Theft Act 1968 are being considered.
Ministers are said to think this change will mean 'the emotional attachment between owners and their pets' is considered in more cases.
West Midlands Police has launched an investigation into the incident which took place on June 10.
Samantha Stewart (pictured) said she had trouble sleeping and felt sick after the incident
In a public appeal, the force wrote: 'We understand two men entered the property, before threatening a woman with a knife and taking her phone, along with five bulldogs, belonging to a friend.
'This is understandably a traumatic experience for both the victim and the owner of the dogs.
'Our investigations are in the early stages, and we are appealing for anyone with any information or witnessed the incident to contact us as soon as possible. Please quote crime number 20/1036621/21.'