A pregnant and injured English Bull Terrier which had been used as ‘bait’ in dog fights was tossed into a river to drown, it emerged today.
The helpless animal was heard splashing and yelping by a passer-by who managed to pull the canine to safety.
After being rescued it emerged the traumatised dog had recently given birth and was pregnant with two further puppies, which died after being delivered by caesarean section.
Police believe the dog, which had numerous fresh wounds on the front of her body, head and neck had been used in dog fighting as a ‘bait dog’ – where the animal is left tied up to be set upon by a group of dogs.
The incident took place on the River Avon at Staverton in Wiltshire on Wednesday night last week.
Horrified Wiltshire Police Dog Section Sergeant and dog legislation officer, Steve Jones said: ”I attended the river bank to find a terrified female English Bull terrier cowering at the end of a concrete ledge over the river.
”It was clear from the outset that we were dealing with an appalling example of animal cruelty.”
The mild-mannered dog, thought to be around two-years-old, is being looked after by the RSPCA with the hope of being re-housed in the future.
RSPCA inspector Miranda Albinson added: ”It beggars belief why someone would treat an animal in this way and I would urge anyone with any information to contact the RSPCA so we can ensure no other animals are allowed to suffer.”
Police are looking for a mixed race male aged 30 – 40 years and 5’7 – 5’8 tall.
He was of stocky build with a chubby face, goatee and side burns and had short cropped hair. He was wearing a tight black t shirt and dark blue jeans.
Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 anyone found guilty of causing deliberate suffering to an animal can face up to six months in prison and/or a £20,000 fine.