The RSPCA is appealing for information after a Shar Pei dog in an “appalling” state was found without most of his fur and limping in a Shropshire road.

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The large dog was found by a member of the public in a lethargic state and struggling to breathe in Telegraph Lane, Bridgnorth, on Monday last week (3 April).

He was taken to a local vet, who was so shocked by his condition that they immediately contacted the RSPCA.

RSPCA inspector Dave McCartney said: “The dog was in an appalling state – most of his fur was missing and possibly had been for some time.

“On top of that he was underweight and was lethargic when he was found and he was struggling to walk. He very clearly was not in a good way at all. Shar Pei dogs are large and very unique-looking, which makes it all the more sad that this dog was left to get in the state he was in.”

The dog was not microchipped so the RSPCA has no way of knowing who owned him. He was taken to private kennels where he continued to be seen under veterinary care.

“Sadly, we have been updated on his condition,” said Inspector McCartney.

“His condition deteriorated and as a result he was put to sleep by a vet to prevent further suffering.

“He suffered a lot so we are very keen to find who was responsible for this. The law states that we have a duty of care to ensure our pets are well looked after – not doing so can lead to suffering, as in this case.”

Anyone who has any information should contact the RSPCA on 0300 123 8018, leaving a message for Inspector McCartney.

Last month, the RSPCA released its annual Cruelty Statistics, which showed that animal cruelty complaints across England and Wales had increased by 3.5%. In Shropshire, the number of animal cruelty complaints inspectors investigated in 2016 was 1,439 – up from 1,311 in 2015 and an increase of 9.7%.

Dermot Murphy, Assistant Director of the RSPCA Inspectorate, said: “It never fails to shock me when I look back on the extreme instances of animal cruelty the RSPCA has been called upon to investigate.

“It continues to outrage and sadden me that people can be capable of such deliberate brutality towards animals, but equally it drives me on to ensure that perpetrators of animal cruelty are put before the courts.

“I believe that the figures from last year show that we’re not becoming crueler, but that people are simply less willing to stand by and do nothing if they think an animal is suffering.

“People are increasingly likely to share images or footage on their social media accounts of animals they believe are not being cared for properly, while many will see material their friends have shared and then contact us about them.”

The RSPCA is a charity and we rely on public donations to exist. To assist our inspectors in carrying out their vital work please text HELP to 78866 to give £3. (Texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message.)