A dog owner was left bruised after two thugs tackled her to the ground and snatched her sausage dog.
Joanna Fox, 50, was walking her two-year-old dachshund Minnie near the village of Woodville, Derbyshire, when she was approached by two men.
Derbyshire Constabulary received a call at 8.20pm on Sunday about the dog theft.
She told the BBC that one man knocked her over and grabbed Minnie as the other held his fist to her face after what had been a ‘really peaceful’ stroll with her pet pooch.
Two-year-old sausage dog Minnie (pictured) was stolen by two men while out on a walk with her owner in Woodville, Derbyshire, on Sunday
She said: ‘A man who was masked pushed me and I fell on the ground. The tall man was yanking the lead and the short one was hovering above me as if to hit my face.
‘All I want is the dog to come back. I just feel broken, I feel lost.’
Her son James Fox said that one man tackled his mum to the ground and left her lying on the pavement, while another snatched the dog lead out of her hand.
He claims that as the pair stole the dog, they lifted her up in air by the lead, strangling her.
Mr Fox, who has now set up an appeal to find Minnie, said his mother could hear her beloved pet ‘crying’ as she was thrown into a black Ford Mondeo, which had a registration plate beginning YG60.
He said: ‘She had been walking near the roundabout and she said someone jumped on her from behind and tackled her to the ground. Then another man snatched the lead from her hand and pick up Minnie in the air by her lead. She was being strangled.
Derbyshire Constabulary have released an image of a man they are seeking in connection with this incident (pictured)
‘Mum is really shook up. We are massive pet lovers and the dog means more than anything to us. Mum is a bit scuffed and bruised. We are just mortified and heartbroken.
‘Minnie had a litter about a year ago and she has been spayed now and has a chip.
‘We only live around the corner from where it happened.’
Mr Fox added that it was one of the first times timid Minnie had been outside since December when she was spooked by fireworks.
He said: ‘She has only just rebuilt her confidence and then this happens. She is such a lovely dog.’
Mr Fox believes the dog has been stolen so the thieves can claim the reward.
Police released an appeal yesterday for information relating to the dog theft, describing the two men involved as being aged in their 30s, with one of the men being white, of a stocky build and with short fair hair.
Also of interest to detectives are any drivers who were in an Asda filling station in Woodville between 8.10pm and 8.15pm where officers believe the car was sighted shortly after the incident.
The victim’s son James Fox said that one man tackled his mum to the ground and left her lying on the pavement, while another snatched the dog lead out of her hand. Minnie (pictured) was thrown into a black Ford Mondeo before the men drove off
Inspector Chris Thornhill, who leads the policing in south Derbyshire, said: ‘Incidents such as this are, thankfully, very rare in Derbyshire. However, I am very aware of the impact that these crimes have on victims and how worried fellow dog owners will be hearing this news.
‘Patrols have been stepped up in the area and you may see an increased police presence in the coming days. I would urge anyone with information, or concerns, to speak to them.’
Anyone with information is urged to contact police on 101 and quoting reference 21*198495 in any correspondence.
Information can also be provided to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
It comes amid a rise in dog-nappings across the UK.
A thief stole a miniature dachshund on March 14 from a home in Burton after telling the owner he only wanted to show the sausage dog to his children – but never returned.
A month before, on February 10, eight miniature wire-haired dachshunds were stolen by thieves who raided a house in Acresford. Two of the pedigree show dogs were later located but six remain missing.
A man walking his collie dog in Derbyshire also told how two men posing as RSPCA officials asked to check his dog in the back of their van.
After challenging the pair, they drove off.