BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — A desperate search was underway on Monday for nearly a dozen missing dogs in Connecticut.

Bridgeport Police say at least ten Yorkies have been stolen in the past two weeks, taken during afternoon hours from front yards.

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The heartbroken owners are now pleading for their safe return.

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“Those dogs that do not run away, somebody is taking those dogs from us and we need to find out what’s going on,” owner Daniella Pareillas said. “She’s family to us, we had her for two years already and I can not live without my dog.”

Police believe an illegal breeder is responsible for the thefts.

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The missing dogs are all young females that have the ability to breed.