Two pooches have allegedly been stolen after thieves hijacked a dog walker's van, leaving owners distraught.
Owner Melina Georgiou has launched a desperate appeal on social media to help find her beloved dog.
The 27-year-old's pooch Nala was one of the three in the van out with her regular dog walker.
She claims thieves jumped into the van when the dog walker had stopped to drop off one of the pets to a home in Barnet, north London.
A search was launched for the vehicle which was reportedly found abandoned with one of the dogs still inside.
However, both Nala and an elderly dog called Chester are still missing since February 18.
Thieves left one dog in the van which was left with a cut on its nose, claims Melina.
She said: "Only one of the dogs was left in the car with a slight cut on her nose, but my dog and another have been taken and we're thinking it's probably to be sold."
In a Facebook post which has been shared over 11,000 times, Melina wrote: "Our beautiful little 1 year old maltipoo called Nala was stolen this afternoon while the dogs were being dropped home from a walk by our dog walker.
"As the dog walker walked out of the car to drop one of the dogs home IN BARNET NORTH LONDON, someone jumped in her van and drove off with Nala and two others."
Dog lovers have rallied together to find the pooches and have been helping Melina raise awareness online.
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Speaking to DailyStar, Melina said: "I cannot BELIEVE the support not only from locals but from the whole entire country. It’s been absolutely overwhelming, we’ve had over 11k shares on Facebook alone, hundreds and hundreds on Instagram and Twitter and floods of loving messages or support and kind words which has been so motivating to never give up hope that we’ll find her.
"It’s been a horrible day but everyone’s local support has been a beautiful thing.
“The awful dog theft endemic has been on the rise and it’s so serious at the moment.
"It’s devastating that people can’t even walk their dogs without cans of people pulling up and taking dogs in broad daylight so the support really does show the love people have for dogs and it’s so nice to see the teamwork!”
In the last few weeks there has been a rise in dog theft, with pooches becoming more valuable.
Last month dog owners were warned to stay alert after two women were targeted by criminals hoping to steal puppies – which are worth more than drugs.
Organised crime gangs have been targeting lone women out walking their puppies in the hopes of snatching their pooches which can be worth up to £3,500.
DailyStar has contacted the Metropolitan Police for comment.
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