THE hunt is on to find an adorable dog after an elderly and disabled man was attacked in a seaside town before having his beloved pooch pinched.

Devoted dog owner, known only as Puffer, was out walking his 11-year-old pet chihuahua, Bobby, in Walton, on June 3.

According to his friend, Phil Dunnicliffe, 55, he regularly visits the area to enjoy the seaside and because it provides the perfect setting for cute Bobby to play.

But his recent expedition to Walton – a place where Puffer would also often take his late mum – was far from the calming and peaceful day-out he is used to.

While out walking Bobby, who requires medication for an eye condition, Puffer is said to have been set upon by a group of three young men, before they snatched his dog.

“I am hoping to God they have not done anything horrible to Bobby,” said a concerned Mr Dunnicliffe.

“That dog is his soulmate and his world, and he is absolutely gutted about what has happened.

“We actually gave him Bobby a couple of years ago because he really took to him and when he would come round to mine, he would spoil him with biscuits.

“He spends a lot of time in Walton, and it just somewhere here loves to go, and I think he has a lot of happy memories there.”

On his behalf, Mr Dunnicliffe has attempted to get the word out, by posting about the attack and theft online, in a bid to reunite Bobby with his heartbroken owner.

Valerie Davey, 72, from Braintree, picked up on the desperate plea, and, as someone who runs social media pages for lost dogs, is now leading a campaign to find Bobby.

“My colleague and I have a lot of groups online for stolen or missing dogs and we came across this post about a lost chihuahua,” she said.

“This dog is his whole world, and Bobby will be just as distraught right now as his owner is.

“Apparently, he has been walking up and down the Walton seafront constantly with treats hoping to find his dog.

“It is just heart-wrenching and it is just really low that people would even do something like this.

“So, we are trying to get the word out there, and we have a lady who is going to put posters up around Walton, because we need to get Bobby back.”