An abandoned rottweiler is recovering after being left for dead down an eight-foot manhole for three days in the scorching heat.
The dog sustained cuts to her head and face in a suspected case of animal cruelty and it is believed she may have been attacked with bricks.
The animal was severely dehydrated and underweight when rescued by police from the manhole at a wasteland site in west Belfast on July 19.
Emergency nurses at Vets Now Ltd, who have since named her Kim, treated her wounds at Earlswood Veterinary Hospital in east Belfast.
The black rottweiler, thought to be around four-years-old, underwent life-saving surgery yesterday for a womb infection, and she was also spayed.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, senior nurse and employee of 17 years, Diane Young, said Kim was the "loveliest dog – an angel".
"She could have died without a doubt. She had potentially been down the hole for three days during the heatwave," said Ms Young.
"When the police brought her to the clinic she was very underweight, around 1.5 stone (11kg) and severely dehydrated.
"The nurses treated her and the vet examined her. She was very thirsty and very hungry and the first port of call was to get her into a kennel and give her a feed which she devoured. She also drank four bowls of water back to back."
The senior nurse said she was upset by the dog's appearance.
"I was very shocked at how underweight she was. It was particularly upsetting because she has such a beautiful nature; the wee tail never stops wagging," Ms Young said.
"We've been treating her since Friday night with lots of high-end nutrition and antibiotics and she has put on 3.5 kilos since Friday night."
She added: "It's going to cost the hospital £5-a-day to care for Kim and we're happy to do that, but we would appeal for Kim's owner to come forward, or for a rottweiler lover to potentially give her a home."
It is expected to take around two weeks before Kim is well and a further three months to get her back to condition, according to the nurse.
A PSNI spokesman said that police had received a report that a dog was stuck down a manhole on the evening of Friday, July 19.
He added: "The report was received by police at approximately 8pm.
"The rottweiler dog was rescued from the manhole in the Glen Road area and taken to a veterinary practice in east Belfast for further care."
June 2013 – 18-month-old former racing Greyhound was found with its ears cut off in Newtownabbey.
May 2013 – Mutilation of family cat in north Belfast. The cat had all four of its legs cut off.
Feb 2013 – Four horses viciously mauled in a suspected dog attack in Belfast's Divis Mountains. One was particularly distressed after losing an eye.
Feb 2013 – Two dogs injured in a blast bomb explosion in north Belfast. A paw was blown off one of the animals.