A family has been left devastated after their pet dog was killed by a flying garden GNOME during a break-in.
Jenson the Pomeranian suffered fatal injuries and died moments after being hit by the concrete garden object which thieves used to shatter a window.
His owners Patrick Heffer, 48, and Lavinia Dodds, 47, were on holiday at the time but rushed home when a friend staying at their home called to tell them the news.
Patrick said: “We had only been in on holiday in Majorca for a day when our friend who was looking after the dogs called to tell us what had happened.
“We couldn’t believe it. We came home immediately, we couldn’t enjoy the rest of our stay knowing what had happened to Jenson.
“Some people might say he was only a dog but he was like one of the family. We are heartbroken.”
The family, from Ipswich, Suffolk, were targeted between 8.30am and 10.30am on Thursday morning after a friend staying in their house went out to the shops.
Their three dogs – Jenson, his mother Bear and sister Bell were at the house at the time – but the two female dogs fled to a neighbour’s garden when thieves let them out.
The crooks removed fence panels to get on to their property before getting in through a window which they smashed with the concrete garden ornament, which is in the shape of a lion.
They stole around £1,000 worth of items in the burglary, including jewellery, a watch and a suede designer handbag.
But Patrick, who is dad to nine-year-old Shannon, says he’s not bothered about what was stolen – only that his beloved dog was killed.
He said: “They could have cleared the whole house out for all I care. We can replace stuff, we can’t replace Jenson. We’ve had him since he was a puppy.
“I know he will have wanted to protect the place and will have done everything he could to try and scare the burglars off.
“They think he would have died fairly quickly. I hope so, I can’t stand to think he might have suffered.
“My daughter is devastated, she can’t understand why anyone would want to hurt an animal like this.”
Patrick, a restaurant worker, is appealing for help in tracing the burglars to bring them to justice.
He added: “We want to appeal for information and see if anyone can come forward and tell us and the police what they saw.
“The handbag is worth a lot of money and the jewellery means a lot to us and we would like to have it back.
“But the main thing is obviously that our dog has been killed and we want to find the people who are responsible.
“What kind of a person leaves a dog lying dead on the floor and steals so many things? It makes me so angry.”
Suffolk Constabulary confirmed they are investigating the break-in.
A spokesman for the force said: “It is believed that garden ornaments were thrown through a window to gain access to the rear of the property and appears to have struck the dog.
“A search of the home was then made and items stolen include a beige-coloured suede ladies handbag.”
Anyone with information should call police on 101.