Little dog had cigarettes stubbed out on his head - can you give him a home?
A little dog whose cruel former owner used to stub cigarettes out on his head is searching for a caring family to give him a fresh start in life.
White and tan Jack Russell terrier Blaze was badly abused as a puppy, which left him with nasty burn scars on his head.
The four-year-old is now in the care of Mid-Antrim Animal Sanctuary, and staff there say that the suffering the little fella endured hasn't dampened his zest for life.
"I have worked here for 16 years and this would be one of the worst cases of abuse that I have seen," animal care assistant Shelagh Gormley (31) said.
"We also took in Norman the greyhound, who had his ears cut off, and we had a wee dog who was put on a hob and was burned.
"There was also a cat who had been rescued from a bonfire. Blaze would be up there with them.
"He got the cigarette wound as a young pup - they stubbed the cigarettes out on his head, and it must have been on an ongoing basis, as he has quite a large lesion.
"To get that type of wound it would have to have been very repetitive.
"The wound would have been open and infected, so it would really have hurt him.
"To do that to a defenceless animal is extreme cruelty. It's heartbreaking to see suffering like that."
Despite enduring such unimaginable cruelty, Shelagh says Blaze remains a "friendly, trusting dog".
"He is a fun-loving dog who loves people and craves attention," she explained.
"He loves chasing snowballs at the minute!
"Like any Jack Russell, he is full of beans and loyal."
Sadly, circumstances have so far prevented Blaze from finding a forever home.
He was previously in the care of another animal charity before being adopted, but his new owner was forced to give him up after she became ill. After being adopted again, he proved too boisterous for the family's young children.
"Blaze would be perfect for adults or a family with teenagers who are prepared to give him lots of exercise," Shelagh added.
"He needs an active home."
Yesterday Blaze underwent surgery to treat scar on his head, and he was also neutered.
"He has no medical conditions that anyone needs to worry about, no special medication," Shelagh said.
"We are just hoping that he can get a good, loving home-that would be fantastic."
In addition to Blaze, centre manager Sarah Rafter said that the sanctuary currently had 35 dogs and 27 cats in its care, all looking for loving homes.
She revealed that the centre was gearing up to deal with an influx of puppies abandoned after the Christmas period.
"People still buy puppies for Christmas and then when the holidays are over and they go back to work they don't want to take care of them," she pointed out.
"The message still isn't getting through, but we are planning to launch education programmes with schools and youth clubs so that the next generation are responsible pet owners."
To enquire over adopting Blaze or any other animal at the sanctuary, tel: 028 9446 3993, visit the Mid-Antrim Animal Sanctuary Facebook page, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.