04/06/2018 17:19 EDT | Updated 04/06/2018 17:19 EDT

Stolen New Brunswick Puppies Are Safe And Back At Home

They appear to be in good health.

FREDERICTON — Three unweaned puppies stolen from a New Brunswick farm have been returned safely to their owners days after they were snatched in the middle of the night.

The RCMP — who had warned the puppies could become extremely sick or die if not found quickly — said Friday they were found with the help of the public and returned home healthy and unharmed.

"We were incredibly worried," said Kim Wilson, daughter of the farm's owners Joan and Lewis Wilson.

The dogs — a dark brown and white Chihuahua and two Havanese-Maltese — were taken from their kennels in a barn at Wilson's Farm in Estey's Bridge between 2 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. Tuesday.

A Chihuahua puppy, left to right, a female Havanese-Maltese puppy and a male Havanese-Maltese puppy are shown in this undated combination handout photo.

"The thieves ... took the Chihuahua out of one pen, and left the door wide open and luckily the other little girl didn't fall out because that would have killed her," Wilson said.

"Then they went to the next pen, which was a mother and five babies, and the mother is a very friendly dog so she wouldn't have growled, she probably gave them hugs and kisses while they stole two of her babies."

Wilson said the thieves left through a back door, leaving it wide open and exposing the dogs and young pups to the cold.

"They put all of the puppies at risk because it could have been so much worse than it was," she said.

Licensed breeders

Although the puppies were already sold, Wilson said they weren't due to be released for another three weeks.

"Three weeks in the life of a puppy is a lot, so we hadn't really even started weaning them yet," Wilson said.

The Wilsons have been breeding dogs for more than 20 years, and are licensed by the New Brunswick SPCA as a kennel to raise and sell puppies.

"Some people on social media said the puppies had been rescued from us, as if we were a bad place like a puppy mill idea," Wilson said. "It couldn't be further from the truth."

'Appear in good health'

The pups were returned early Friday, and she said they appear unscathed.

"They are eating and acting normal, they're active and playing, so they appear in good health," she said.

Wilson said the kennel has installed extra locks and surveillance cameras.

Corp. Jullie Rogers-Marsh wouldn't reveal how police located the dogs other than to say they had help from the public. She said no arrests have been made but the investigation is continuing.

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