A FAMILY has been left heartbroken after burglars stole their beloved pet dog.
Thieves are understood to have crept into the house in East Vines, Hendon, and grabbed the nine-month-old French bulldog, which is worth up to £2,000.
The raid, which saw the intruders ignore household valuables, has devastated Duchess’s owners and her sister, Tilly.
Reg Conlin, whose parents own the missing pet, said: “We can’t believe what has happened. We’re all devastated, especially Tilly.
“She’s not eating properly and she’s moping around. They were inseparable. She really misses her.”
Reg, 26, said the burglars must have sneaked into the three-storey house while the family were in another room.
“They must have waited until they were sure nobody was about, opened the cage and taken off with her,” he said. “There is no way she could have just escaped.
“They obviously knew what they were looking for. They ignored the TV and other things in the house. They weren’t interested. They went straight for the dog.”
In a desperate bid to get their pet back, the family have launched an online appeal, as well as offering a reward for her return.
“We’ve set up a Facebook page and put out pictures and appeals on all the websites which help families with missing dogs.
“They cover the whole country, so hopefully someone will have information on her whereabouts.
“We’ve also visited all the local dog homes, but so far we’ve had no luck.”
Reg, along with distraught nieces Olivia Little, four, and Leah Perry, three, and nephews Ryan Little, two, and Liam Perry, three, are now praying for her safe return.
“We all miss her so much,” he said. “We’re so worried about her. She is really gentle. She wouldn’t hurt anyone. We just want her back safe and sound.”
The theft has been reported to Northumbria Police, which is investigating.
The family, who are offering a £500 reward, can be contacted on 510 9510.