A dog owner is looking for a man who allegedly stole her spaniel when her domestic worker walked the dog in Sai Wan on Hong Kong Island on Thursday.

The female dog named Pepita, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel with serious heart disease had been with a family of four for six years, Apple Daily reported.

The dog’s owner, Audrey, a French woman who has been living in Hong Kong for 17 years, said her domestic worker took Pepita for a walk at 2pm on Thursday. When they arrived at the Smithfield Court in Sai Wan, the maid tied the dog’s leash to a handrail in the shopping arcade and went to buy items in a pet store.

The maid returned but found Pepita was gone. She immediately reported the dog’s disappearance to Audrey.

Audrey checked surveillance camera footage from nearby buildings and found a man wearing a blue shirt and white hat, and carrying a black backpack, untied the leash and took the dog away.

The owner posted 500 “Dog wanted” posters around the area and made an appeal on social media, offering a HK$20,000 (US$2,563) reward for whoever returns the dog.

Audrey said the family was worried about Pepita as the animal has serious heart disease and needs to take medicine every day.

The maid was very upset, blaming herself for losing the dog but Audrey said although she had made a mistake, the maid – who had worked for the family for three years – had shown great love and care for Pepita.

Audrey said she would give HK$10,000 to people who can reveal the dog’s whereabouts, Oriental Daily reported.