Police are investigating after harrowing CCTV footage of a Horowhenua amputee being beaten by three men as they stole his two-month-old puppies was posted to social media.
Security video from the man's house in Levin shows two men looking over his front gate at the pair of young dogs on Wednesday night, before one of them jumps over to retrieve them.
It's at this point that the dogs' 62-year-old owner, who has one arm, hears the commotion and confronts the men with what appears to be a rake or another tool with a long wooden handle.
One of the men responds to the confrontation by tackling the owner to the ground and retrieving the dogs, before carrying them out to a black Subaru Forester.
As the owner makes one last desperate attempt to get his dogs back, he's pushed to the ground, kicked in the face and the thieves steal the scene.
The footage, posted to Facebook on Thursday by the man's son, Matty Hart, has since been shared more than 6000 times. Many Kiwis have voiced their disgust at the men's actions.
Hart said the dogs are two-month-old purebred Rottweilers, and brought his father a great deal of joy.
"He hasn't got much left but loves his dogs more than anything. These cowards have no shame and remorse," he wrote on Facebook.
He said his father is "absolutely heartbroken" to have lost the puppies.
"In 25 years, I've never seen my father cry," he told the NZ Herald.
Police told Newshub they were called to the alleged robbery on Cambridge St in Levin just after 8pm on Wednesday night. They said the man who was assaulted was assessed and treated by ambulance staff at the scene.
By Friday morning no charges have been laid, but enquiries into the incident are still ongoing.
Police are urging anyone with information that may assist with their investigation to phone police on 105 and quote file number 210128/6519.