Vets say the extremely emaciated dog would have suffered considerably before she died and her body dumped in the field.The RSPCA has tonight released graphic pictures of the mother dog, fearing she was shot because her owner did not want to take her to the vets after having a recent litter.
She was found in a field in Old Eldon, Shildon, County Durham, at the weekend, although her body may have been dumped days earlier.
Vets believe she would not have died straight away and would have suffered a great deal
X-rays show she had died from a fractured skull but not instantly and would have suffered for some time.
Shocking pictures released by the RSPCA reveal the two entry wounds close together in the dog’s head as well as her pitiful body condition.RSPCA chief inspector Mark Gent believes this was due to the dog recently giving birth.
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“I suspect this dog has had puppies, which have drained her fat reserves as she has not been fed sufficiently and perhaps partly contributed to her extremely emaciated state,” he explained.
“It appears, rather than take her to a vet, her owner, or someone else, has decided to shoot her.
“The first attempt hasn’t been successful, so they’ve shot her again.
“Vets believe she would not have died straight away and would have suffered a great deal.
“It’s extremely difficult to think about what this poor dog has gone through.”
Dogue de Bordeaux are the same breed that featured in the Tom Hank’s film Turner and Hooch and are becoming popular pets with puppies selling for more than £1,000 each.
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There now concerns about the welfare of the dead dog’s puppies.Chief inspector Gent added: “As she wasn’t microchipped we have no way of tracing her owner at the moment or the puppies that she has somewhere and who, given what has happened to their mother, I’m extremely worried about.
“I suspect she wasn’t actually shot at the location, and that this happened somewhere else and she was dumped there, whether this was alive or dead we don’t know.
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“We believe she was shot with some kind of high powered air rifle.”
Anyone who witnessed anything suspicious or knows who owned the dog is asked to contact the RSPCA’s confidential appeal line on 0300 123 8018.