The owner of a dog which had part of his ear cut off during a shopping trip has said he can't understand who would carry out such a cruel act, or why.
Bangor man Robin Ballantine returned home from a trip to his local supermarket only to discover his pet, Cole, had part of his ear sliced off.
He had left the five-year-old tied outside the Springhill branch of Tesco on Friday, September 21. On returning he said he did not notice anything strange with the dog but on getting home he spotted a trail of blood around the home leading him to discover part of his ear was missing.
"It's disgraceful. I just can't understand it," the 55-year-old told the Belfast Telegraph.
Robin took the dog to his vet. He was told the injury could only have been done by a blade or scissors as it was such a straight cut. He said the dog had been whimpering around the house and has been very reluctant to let people stroke him, particularly males.
"But they are a resilient dog and it's not long before they are running around like nothing happen," he said.
"He will be ok. Every now and again he shakes his head and lets out a little cry. And you have to be careful around his ears. I notice he backs away from people when he never did before.
"Cole is such a lovable dog and has always been very friendly, I just can't understand this."
In the days after the incident Robin returned to the shop and noticed what may have been blood in and around the area where the dog was. He said CCTV may show something happen. He also reported the matter to the police.
Since the shop's community group posted about the incident on Facebook there has been an outpouring of revulsion at the incident.
"People are also not too happy with me," continued Robin, "saying I should not have taken the dogs with me, or not have left him outside for so long.
"But I had been leaving him there for years and to me he was in a safe, dry place with plenty of people passing by. I'd never any problem before.
"There have also been some nice comment and people passing on their support."
Staff at the Tesco store also held a collection and presented Robin with a box of dog treats and some cash to help with the vet bills.
"That bowled me over," he said
"All I could say was thank you, it was such a lovely gesture, I was overwhelmed.
"But I would just like to know why anyone would do this in the first place, I just can't fathom why."
A police spokesman said: "On Sunday, 26 September police received a report of a dog having sustained an injury to its ear when its owner had left it tied with its lead in the underground parking area of a local shopping centre in Bangor on Friday, 21 September."