POLICE are hunting the person responsible for a sickening attack on a dog in Preston.
Officers were called to Watery Lane, Fishwick Bottoms around lunchtime on Thursday, 4 May after reports that an injured dog had been seen near to a bonfire.
When they arrived, they found the brindle and white English Bull Terrier bitch lying about three feet away from the smouldering fire. She had suffered serious burns and head injuries and had to be taken to a nearby vet where she had to be euthanised.
Enquiries to trace the owner have so far proved unsuccessful, and the RSPCA has taken the body away for a post-mortem examination to be carried out.
PC Paul Baker said: "This was a truly shocking and despicable crime involving extreme cruelty.
Someone has deliberately thrown this dog on to a bonfire and caused it the most appalling injuries. This dog was still alive when it was found, but sadly could not be saved.
"This was an awful thing to do to a defenceless creature. Whoever did this must have known the dog would be killed, or at the very least seriously injured."
Early indications suggest the animal may have been involved in dog-fighting somewhere nearby. A full investigation is now underway with both the police and RSPCA carrying out enquiries.
Force Wildlife Officer, PC Duncan Thomas, said: "Sadly, dog-fighting is alive and well in Lancashire and this type of end is all too common for some of the animals involved in it. I would appeal directly to anyone who knows anything about this incident, or dog-fighting in general, to contact the police or Crimestoppers straight away."
RSPCA Inspector Sarah Hayland said: "I don't like to imagine the sheer agony this dog endured – first beaten and then thrown on to a bonfire, only for it to crawl away from the flames. This is a horrific and sickening incident which has left police and RSPCA staff alike incredibly distressed.
"The RSPCA is working alongside the police to track down those who were responsible and I would urge anybody with any information to come forward.
Further information is available from PC Baker on 01772-209032 or PC Thomas on 07908-776903.