The raid on Kennedy’s Pet Farm near Killarney is believed to have occurred in the early hours of Saturday last.
Last week was one of the busiest in the county for visitors with the culmination of the Puck Fair in Killorglin and the Kenmare Fair on August 15.
The thieves — whom the family believe must have numbered at least four or five people — crossed fields and broke gates to get to the animal farm.
Locks on gates near the N22 main road were found to have been cut, Gerry Kennedy said yesterday.
One much-loved pet has made it home — Saoirse, a golden retriever — probably because she made life too difficult for the robbers. The family’s pets, along with newborn puppies and showcase pheasants, were removed.
The discovery of the raid was not made until 8am on Saturday.
Noreen Kennedy, owner, said the family were “heartbroken” as pure-bred pugs, family pets, weanling pups, as well as the golden retriever were taken.
An appeal for information on the pet farm’s Facebook page has been shared by thousands of people, many of them visitors to the farm over the past quarter of a century.
The pheasant pen was destroyed and eight golden and silver cock-pheasants removed. Beautiful Silky hens were also removed and again they were pulled by their feathers.
The animals and fowl were probably transported in bags or cages.
Ms Kennedy described the theft as “wanton destruction — utter blackguardism”.
The pet farm’s chihuahua Ruby was also taken, along with a litter of newborn puppies belonging to a Yorkshire cross terrier.
“We are completely heartbroken and just want them back for their welfare,” said Ms Kennedy.
Newborn pups were taken from their mother in the kennel. Pens were left open, doors of sheds were smashed and animals left out of their enclosures.
The pet farm’s coffee shop was also broken into and confectionery removed.
Ms Kennedy suspects those who attacked had previously visited the pet farm, popular with families, and knew the layout.
Gardaí in Killarney have undertaken a technical examination of the farm and are keeping a close eye on festivals and fairs in the southwest.
The family is also conducting their own searches for the pets.