A SHELLSHOCKED dad has spoken of his horror at finding the charred body of a beaten dog which had been tied to a tree, its legs broken, and set alight in Sheffield.
The bloodied remains of the tortured sandy-coloured terrier were found by Lee Booth, aged 43, who reported his horrifying discovery to the RSPCA and South Yorkshire Police. Detectives are today hunting the callous thug who attacked the dog - which officers said would have ‘suffered terribly before dying’.
The young pup was found near allotments, on a path off Manor Laith Road, Skye Edge, Sheffield.
Today father-of-one Lee told The Star: “I rang the RSPCA first of all, but because what had happened to it was criminal I called the police too.
“Its head was totally smashed in and there was blood everywhere. It had also been set on fire.
“It is heartbreaking to think how much that poor dog suffered - the scene was gruesome, there was blood splattered everywhere.
“I also saw an iron bar at the scene and I am wondering if that was used to attack the dog before it was set on fire.
“It is really worrying to think there are people out there who could do something as evil as this.”
Matt Duffy, one of four dedicated Dog Legislation Officers with South Yorkshire Police, said he was ‘shocked and appalled’ by the crime.
“It’s not a particularly old dog, it was light tan in colour, and it was a non-neutered male,” he said.
“We don’t know whether it was still alive when it was set on fire. Its back legs were broken, and it was tied using green plastic-coated flex, the type you might use in a garden.
“The fire had been started using lots of newspaper.
“We want to hear from anyone with information - anyone who knows of someone with a similar dog, anyone known to have inflicted cruelty on a dog in the past, anyone seen taking lots of paper into this area.
“There is a lot of anger among local people who are shocked anyone could do something so cruel.”
Geraldine Mullen, 47, who walks her own pet dog along the same path, said: “How that poor animal must have suffered does not bear thinking about.
“Whoever did this needs help. If they can do this what else are they capable of? They are a danger to society.”
Police are still trying to trace the dog’s owner, and are appealing for witnesses to the attack or anyone with information to come forward.
A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman confirmed: “Police are appealing for information from the public after the body of a badly beaten and burned dog was found in Sheffield.
“The light-coloured Staffordshire Bull Terrier male dog is believed to have been severely beaten, before being tied to a tree and set on fire.
“Officers believe the dog suffered terribly before dying.
“Police want to speak to anyone who may have seen this dog, or who may have lost a dog that fits this description.”
It is thought the attack took place some time in the last week, between last Monday, February 18, and Sunday, February 24.
An RSPCA spokeswoman said: “We are appalled to hear of such a blatant act of animal cruelty on a defenceless animal.
“This poor dog is likely to have suffered a painful and horrific death.
“We would urge anyone who has any information to call the police immediately. We are happy to assist the police with this investigation if required.”
Call South Yorkshire Police on 101 quoting incident 488 of February 24.
Crimestoppers can also be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.