Brutalised and maggot-ridden, the puppy left to die at the roadside
A 10-month-old puppy was found wounded and covered in maggots after he was left to die at the side of the road at the weekend.
Rescue workers described it as the worst case of animal cruelty they had ever seen and yesterday donations reached over £3,000 as the dog they named Oscar continued to fight for his life.
Around 11am on Sunday, Oscar was found in the lane of a house on the Lowtown Road outside Banbridge.
It is believed that the black Labrador-mix puppy was used as a bait dog in a fight a few days ago and then dumped at the roadside.
He had wounds all over his body, including a puncture to his skull, and he was infested with maggots. He was also starved and "too weak to walk".
Gillian McFadden from the Doghouse Sanctuary, who rescued Oscar, said: "We put a lead on him and the maggots in the neck wound started to crawl up the dog lead. That's when we realised the level of injury."
When they took him to Iveagh Veterinary Surgery, they said the vet told them that this was the worst cruelty he had seen during his career.
Mrs McFadden added: "There were literally thousands of maggots. All his wound areas had to be shaved to get the maggots off his coat. When we shaved him, the vet said his skin was like something you would see in the burns unit.
"The dog's ears were flushed numerous times and maggots were still coming out of his ears.
"His skin was so inflamed and burning hot from the toxicity of the maggots. When you wiped off them off, more burrowed out through the skin."
She said that Oscar was also very bruised and his face was so swollen, it was difficult to distinguish his facial features.
The Doghouse Sanctuary rescues hundreds of dogs every year and often has to deal with horrific injuries. Mrs McFadden added: "We've seen dogs with embedded collars and with horrendous bite wounds but never to this level."
On Sunday night, the sanctuary appealed to the public for help. Within 24 hours, they raised more than £3,000 to put towards vets' fees and care.
"We're immensely grateful to everyone who has donated and without their help, this dog couldn't get the level of treatment that he's getting," Mrs McFadden added.
Oscar will need surgery on his wounds to remove the dead tissue as soon as he is strong enough for an anaesthetic.
Upper Bann MP David Simpson expressed his disgust at the level of cruelty suffered by Oscar. He said: "Any act of cruelty towards an animal must be punished and the law strengthened to deal with those individuals responsible."
- Anyone who wants to donate to The Doghouse Sanctuary to help save Oscar can visit https://www.justgiving.com/Save-Oscar or https://www.facebook.com/The-Doghouse-Sanctuary.