‘Touch and go’ for dog found with ‘holes in head’ having been beaten and set on fire (WARNING: Upsetting photos)

The dog was reported as a stray and collected by the dog warden
The dog was reported as a stray and collected by the dog warden
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A seriously injured dog found wandering in a rural village in Cumbria with ‘holes in his head’ has been undergoing emergency life-saving surgery while the RSPCA searches for those responsible for inflicting such severe wounds on him.

The tan-coloured bull lurcher - a cross between a bull breed and sighthound, often used for illegal hunting - was found wandering dazed and bloodied in Little Orton, on the outskirts of Carlisle, on Thursday.

The tan-coloured bull lurcher

The tan-coloured bull lurcher

Vets found he had a deep hole in the top of his skull and several other puncture wounds in the side of his face as well as burns around his tail and rear end.

RSPCA Chief Inspector (CI) Rob Melloy said: “The dog was reported as a stray and collected by the dog warden but as soon as she saw him she knew he needed immediate veterinary attention and rushed him to a nearby clinic, in Carlisle, where staff contacted us.

“The poor dog - a brown adult male bull lurcher - had a swollen, protruding eye and a deep, hole in the top of his skull. His face was bloodied and battered, and his tail had been burned.

“Vets examined him and, on closer inspection, found he had several deep puncture wounds to the side of his face.

We believe this poor dog has been beaten with a screwdriver or a piece of wood with a nail hammered into it"

We believe this poor dog has been beaten with a screwdriver or a piece of wood with a nail hammered into it"

“We believe this poor dog has been beaten with a screwdriver or a piece of wood with a nail hammered into it, giving him the severe puncture wounds and nasty eye injury which has then become infected.

“The fur and skin around his rear end and tail are also scalded and burned as if someone has tried to set him on fire.”

The dog - now named Bruce by vet staff - was not microchipped and had no collar or ID tag. He is believed to be around four-years-old.

“His eye is in an horrendous state and sadly will need removing,” CI Melloy added. “He’s very skinny and, as well as the puncture wounds on his head and face, his skull has also been fractured in several places and his jaw is broken.

“Poor Bruce was stabilised overnight and rushed into surgery on Friday (31 August) for emergency life-saving treatment.

“It’s touch and go whether he’ll survive at the moment and, if he pulls through, he’ll need major, reconstructive surgery to repair the damage to his skull.

“Vets believe he’s had these injuries for around three to four days.

“I can’t begin to imagine the suffering he’s endured at the hands of such violence and in the days after, where he’s simply been abandoned and left for dead.

“Poor Bruce must have been so frightened and confused, and he must be in so much pain.

“This is one of the most upsetting and shocking cases I’ve ever come across. In 20 years of service it is truly one of the worst cases of cruelty I have seen. I will never understand how someone could be so brutally violent towards a loyal, loving dog. It’s heartbreaking and I really hope Bruce pulls through.”

Bruce will remain under treatment of vets while the RSPCA investigates.

CI Melloy added: “I’d appeal to anyone from the local area who recognises Bruce to get in touch via our appeal line by calling 0300 123 8018.

“I’d urgently like to track down Bruce’s owners and find out who is responsible for this heinous crime.”