A woman reported the incident to Derbyshire Police believing her two-year-old poochon had been targeted.
A spokesman for the team said it was being treated as an attempted theft and added: “This is a disgusting and immoral act and will not be taken lightly.
“Thankfully on this occasion they were unsuccessful, but many times they do get away with it.”
The threat from thieves has risen in recent months as demand for pets has spiked in lockdown, increasing their value and the potential for criminal enterprise.
According to the Missing Pets Bureau as many as 38 per cent of all animals reported lost have actually been stolen. As many as 60 per cent of these are never recovered.
The Safer Neighbourhood Team also issued advice on keeping dogs protected from opportunist thieves around the town.
While pedigree pets are at the greatest risk due to the cost of purchasing pedigree puppies, non-pedigree dogs can also be at risk as thieves wait for a reward to be offered.
Tips include not leaving a dog tied up outside a shop, alone in the car or unsupervised in the garden, even for a few minutes, and making sure it has a collar and microchip with contact details on.
Owners should also take regular photographs together with their dog, using various angles to help highlight any unique distinguishing features.
Train your dog to come to you when called, and use an extending lead if you are unsure they will respond when let loose. There are anti-theft leads and collars which have been proven effective.
Beware of strangers asking you questions about your dog and, if possible, vary your times and routes.
If you breed puppies for sale, take care inviting people to view them. Show the puppies in one secure area, have someone else present and limit the numbers of people you allow in at a time.
It is also important to be clear about who owns the dog in your household, and who would own it in the event of bereavement or break-up. Dogs can often become the centre of disputes in those circumstances.
If the worst happens and you fear your dog has been stolen, it should be reported immediately to police, the microchip database, the council dog warden and those in neighbouring local authorities. Insist it is recorded as a theft, not a lost animal.
Make posters for your neighbourhood, speak to other owners in parks, and make sure local vets and animal shelters are aware of the ncident.
Derbyshire Police is asking dog owners to help officers better understand the threat of pet theft by taking part in a national survey on the issue.
A spokesman for the force said: “While the media reporting, and coverage, of dog thefts in the UK has increased in recent times, dog thefts within Derbyshire thankfully remain very low.
“However, we recognise that for dog owners, the theft of a dog is akin to losing a family member, and this crime is particularly upsetting.”
To take the survey, go to https://bit.ly/3l6EvNi.