A mother-of-three has spoken out about her 'heartbreak' after her children were assaulted by a burglar and six French Bulldog puppies were stolen from the family's home.
Hayley King's children were at home in Parkwood Street, St James, Northampton on Sunday afternoon (13 June) at around 1.25pm when a man in a grey tracksuit, with his hood up and a mask on, broke into their home, the Northampton Chronicle & Echo reports.
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The man walked straight into the living room where her 12-year-old daughter was and started picking up six of the family's four-week-old puppies, Hayley said.
The 33-year-old said: "He started grabbing the puppies by their legs and neck and put them into his black duffle bag.
"My daughter grabbed him and said 'what are you doing' and tried to stop him. He has then assaulted her, grabbing her throat and pushing her to the floor and telling her to 'get off' of him.
"My 15-year-old son came down and tried to stop him and get the puppies back. My son was then punched in the face and now has a black eye. When my boy was punched, the man said 'if you don't stop I will shoot you' - it's like something from a film.
"The man then left out the back gate and took six puppies - five females and one male."
Hayley described how she and her family are feeling after the devastating ordeal.
She said: "I am absolutely distraught, heartbroken. My kids are distraught and petrified.
"My kids don't want to live here anymore; it should be a safe place. They aren't sleeping at night. Any noise in the house now and my daughter is jumping out of her skin. It's terrified them.
"The puppies mum is lost without them. They won't survive without their mum. We just want them home.
"Taking the puppies is bad enough, but assaulting children is disgusting. My children were so brave trying to fight him off."
Hayley said she had just popped out at the time of the incident but a friend was at the house. However, her friend left the property for five minutes which is when the perpetrator broke in.
"Within five minutes of my friend leaving, the kids rang me and said the dogs have gone. It's like they were watching the house. I was distraught, crying, an emotional wreck when I heard.
"People seem to be doing anything nowadays to get your dogs. I think puppies' value are really high at the moment and they are trying to sell them on to make money. I have no clue who it could be," the mother said.
Hayley published a social media post as soon as it happened calling on the public to help find her dogs, which has now been shared more then 20,000 times.
She added: "I’m overwhelmed by the response from Facebook and other social media platforms, we have reached over 21k shares. Please keep sharing and help get these babies back to her mummy and their loving family who miss them dearly."
‘Please do the right thing’
Northamptonshire Police have since issued an appeal calling on the perpetrator 'to do the right thing'.
A Northamptonshire Police spokeswoman said: "Police officers are appealing for anyone with information to come forward after six French bulldog puppies were stolen from a home in Northampton.
"If the person who stole them is reading this, please do the right thing and take them to the local vets or contact us anonymously about where they are so we can return them to their rightful owners.
"There are serious concerns as to the physical health of the puppies if they are not returned to the mother as they are only five weeks old."
Police said the suspect is a white man, about 6ft, slim and was wearing grey tracksuit bottoms, a grey hooded zip up top with the hood up and a black face mask.
Witnesses or anyone with any information should call Northamptonshire Police on 101 or if you would prefer to remain anonymous, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.