Robbers armed with machetes stole six newborn puppies and slashed the face of their mother when she tried to defend them, say police.
The five-week-old Staffie crossbreeds were snatched by two thieves who followed a man into a flat in the Harpurhey area of Manchester on Saturday morning.
Following an urgent police appeal the puppies were recovered from a property two miles away in Moston and reunited with their mother Zena.
A 40-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of aggravated burglary and taken into custody for questioning.
Greater Manchester Police said Zena was “over the moon” at the return of her puppies.
“The puppies are all safe and well, and have been reunited with their mother, Zena, who was absolutely delighted to see them,” said Detective Constable Nick Kershaw.
“It has been a huge effort from the team to reunite the puppies with their mother before the worst happened, however our investigation is not finished there and we are keen to speak with anyone who can help us.”
Police said the thieves were described as tall black men of skinny build, aged in their twenties and wearing dark clothing with the hoods up. One was wearing a grey and black camouflage covering over his face.
After gaining entry to the flat on Fernclough Road at around 9.30am, they attacked a man inside and left him on the floor with defensive wounds to his hands and forearms.
The thieves then ransacked the property for cash, keys and a phone before shoving the litter of five-week-old puppies into carrier bags.
When their mother Zena tried to intervene, one of the attackers hit her with a machete, causing a deep cut to her head.
DC Kershaw said: “This was an incredibly callous robbery, where the offenders showed absolutely no regard for the safety of anyone, human or animal, who was present at the time.
“They only had one thing on their mind, which was to take whatever they could.”
During the original appeal detectives said they feared that the puppies could die without their mother.