Breeder offers £50,000 reward to catch Loughton puppy thieves
A dog breeder has offered a £50,000 reward to help him find 11 puppies which were stolen at knifepoint from his home.
Mark Orley said three men threatened his children at his Loughton property and made off with four daschunds and seven French bulldogs.
He warned four of the dogs could die if not returned within 24 hours as they were not old enough to be weaned.
Essex Police has confirmed it is investigating the thefts.
Mr Orley said he had gone out briefly to give a dog to a friend when three men armed with knives, forced their way into his home at about 14:00 GMT on Monday.
"It has been a horrible situation," he said. "I am concerned these puppies are going to die.
"I have been doing this seven years and have poured my heart and soul into it.
"I will find the men because I want my dogs back."
After initially offering £20,000 on Facebook Mr Orley upped the amount in a bid to get the animals back safely and said he wanted to make the dogs "too hot to handle".
Mr Orley said: "These puppies could die in the next 24 hours as four of them are away from their mother's milk and too young to be weaned."
A police spokesman said: "We are investigating following a burglary in Loughton where a number of dogs were stolen.
"Three men forced their way into an address in Hogarth Reach at about 14:00 BST on Monday 29 October.
"They threatened someone inside before stealing a number of French bulldog and dachshund puppies."