Dog died trying to protect puppies from thieves

Puppies stolen from Barlow's Farm in Bickershaw
Puppies stolen from Barlow's Farm in Bickershaw
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A devastated dog owner desperately hopes to be reunited with six puppies stolen from a farm in Wigan.

Thieves took the litter of Jack Russell cross Shih Tzu puppies from Barlow’s Farm, on Bickershaw Lane, Bickershaw.

Dog Shelly died from injuries caused when puppies were stolen from Barlow's Farm in Bickershaw

Dog Shelly died from injuries caused when puppies were stolen from Barlow's Farm in Bickershaw

Two older dogs - their father Balloo and uncle Shelly - were both injured during the theft. Sadly, eight-year-old Shelly died from his injuries.

The theft has been reported to the police and owner Aithne Ashurst-O’Shaughnessy hopes her puppies can be found.

She said: “I’m hoping we will get them back, but as time passes, it gets harder and harder.

“I just hope that if they have sold them, somebody will come forward with them.”

I’m hoping we will get them back, but as time passes, it gets harder and harder

Miss Ashurst-O’Shaughnessy’s brother Declan, 23, discovered the theft when he went to the farm on Thursday morning.

The 11-week-old puppies were missing from a horse box and the two dogs were inside injured.

Shelly died from his injuries while being taken to see a vet.

Miss Ashurst-O’Shaughnessy said: “It’s horrible. The dog is quite traumatised still. We presume the one that passed away had bite marks which wasn’t caused by a little dog. They also had injuries to their faces which I think were from them being hit or kicked with something. The dad’s face was really swollen.”

Balloo the dog, who was injured when puppies were stolen from Barlow's Farm in Bickershaw

Balloo the dog, who was injured when puppies were stolen from Barlow's Farm in Bickershaw

Miss Ashurst-O’Shaughnessy, who lives in Atherton, believes the older dogs were trying to protect the puppies from the thieves.

“In my opinion, if they weren’t protecting the puppies, they were protecting their land,” she said.

“If they just sat there, I don’t think they would have been injured. Shelly has been there near enough all his life and it’s his land.”

The thieves also broke into a building on the farm, but only the puppies were stolen.

Miss Ashurst-O’Shaughnessy, 21, does not know if the farm was targeted specifically for the puppies.

She is now concerned the puppies could be sold and believes she has seen them being advertised for sale online.

The litter of seven puppies was born in September and the family was looking to rehome them, rather than make any money.

One puppy had already found a home, but the two male and four female puppies remaining were all stolen.

A police spokesman confirmed the theft had been reported to them but no arrests have been made.

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.