A PUPPY is pining for its missing sister - which is believed to have been stolen from a York animal home.

Twelve-week-old Poppy, a short-haired black and tan Collie and whippet cross, went missing from the RSPCA home in Landing Lane, Holgate, between 3pm and 3.30pm on Sunday.

The puppy was playing with its sister, Polly, in a high-fenced enclosure while the home was open to the public.

Both puppies, which are identical, had been inseparable since they arrived at the home aged four weeks old.

Home manager Elaine Murdoch believes thieves may have climbed over the fence and stolen Poppy.

She said both puppies were suffering from ringworm - a skin condition highly contagious to humans.

Both were receiving regular medication which kept the ringworm under control. Elaine said Poppy needed to be seen by a vet to prevent the condition from becoming worse. If it does, the dog's skin will become painful and its hair will start to fall out.

The RSPCA home is offering a reward for any information that leads to Poppy's recovery.

Elaine said the puppy could be easily identified as she had been microchipped.

She said: "Poppy was a little angel.

"They just loved each other. We were going to rehome them together.

"It's just absolutely devastating. We were all here very late looking for her."

She appealed for anyone who may now have Poppy to bring her back to the home.

"Just bring her back - nobody will ask any questions," she said.

Anyone with any information as to Poppy's whereabouts is asked to phone the home on 01904 654949 or 01904 630136. The dog's disappearance has been reported to the police.

Updated: 10:54 Tuesday, June 15, 2004