The RSPCA is appealing for information after a sick, elderly dog was left tied to a park bench in a small wooded area in Bournemouth on Sunday 29 November.

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The small, cream and white fluffy-coated cream terrier cross-breed, named ‘Martha’ by staff, was found by a member of the public at about 6:30pm whilst out walking their dog. She was found tied to the bench on a footpath which links Bradpole Road with Strouden Park Open Space and runs behind the Mallard Road Retail Park, an area frequently used by local dog walkers and residents.

RSPCA inspector Patrick Bailey said “Martha was tied to a bench, tucked amongst shrubbery on an unlit footpath which leads to a dark, wooded area of parkland.  She did not make a sound when her rescuer approached and if it hadn’t been for the gentleman’s own dog heading off to investigate, I don’t know what would have happened to her.

“Initially her finder called out for an owner and comforted her while waiting to see if anyone returned.  He said she was shivering so much it was ‘like holding a pneumatic drill’.  When it became apparent nobody was returning for her, the kind man carried her home, gave a little food, water and warmth before taking her to the vets where she received emergency treatment for her condition.

“Martha was underweight, cold, lethargic and severely dehydrated. She was also riddled with fleas, was losing her fur in places and had scabby skin. Since her discovery, Martha has had to remain under 24 hour veterinary supervision after initial blood tests showed, in addition to her other conditions, she was severely anaemic.

“I am appealing for anyone with information about Martha or how she came to be left tied to that bench on a cold, winter’s evening to please come forward. She is a very sweet-natured if withdrawn little dog, and clearly suffered from being left in this way.

“Martha is not microchipped and was not wearing a collar or tag. She had been tied to the bench using a red flexi-lead, with one end being tied around her neck.

“I do believe Martha was left at this location in the hope that she would be found, but her discovery could not have been guaranteed and given her weak state the outcome could have been very different had she not been found that evening.”

Anyone with any further information is urged to contact the RSPCA inspectorate appeal line in confidence on 0300 123 8018.