Maddy pictured with rescue worker Linda Mercer
A TWO month-old puppy died after being kicked around like a football by a gang of heartless youths last week.
A man walking near Temple Park leisure centre, South Shields, rescued her when he saw her being thrown about by a gang of youths, who, the man later said, were kicking the puppy "like a football".
The good Samaritan took the six to eight week-old Labrador cross bitch puppy home, but found that it kept falling over and would not eat and so on Monday he took her to St Francis Animal Rescue in South Shields.
The puppy, who was called Maddy by animal rescue workers, was put on a drip and given injections but then started having fits every 10 minutes, due to brain damage caused by her injuries. A Vet advised that the kindest thing would be to put her down to prevent her suffering further.
Rescue Centre worker Linda Mercer, who has worked with St Francis Animal Rescue for 15 years, said she had been devastated by the incident.
She said: "It was the most dreadful thing I have seen in all my rescue time, and I have seen some terrible things. This was a tiny baby that hadn't even had a life. It will stay with me for a long time.
"I want people to see what has been done. I would like to think someone will learn a lesson from this."
St Francis Animal Rescue was set up around 25 years ago and cares for and rehomes homeless animals and helps people in the community by offering a neutering service, to reduce the number of unwanted animals. The centre is run by volunteers and relies on donations.
Northumbria Police said they were trying to find out what happened to the dog and were making inquiries in the local area and are appealing for anyone with information and the puppy's owner to contact them.