SHOCKED walkers have found the decapitated remains of a dog in the Chesterfield Canal.
The dog, believed to be a white Staffordshire Terrier, was spotted by walkers in the water close to the Lock Keeper pub on Stubbing Lane on Thursday afternoon.
Disturbed by what they had seen, the two men took the dog out of the canal before contacting police.
The grisly discovery comes just weeks after it was reported that ducks had been found beheaded at nearby Godfrey’s Pond.
Unsuspecting Darren Thewlis said he was ‘disgusted’ by what he had seen.
“We thought it was a dead duck to begin with before realising it was too big to be a duck. At closer inspection it was clearly a dog,” he said.
“It wasn’t a very nice sight and I felt physically sick. I can’t help but feel it was a deliberate attack.”
The dad-of-five added: “I have kids and I wouldn’t have wanted them to see it.”
“It was haunting.”
His friend Ricky Stuart was the one who fished the dog out of the water.
“We were walking by the side of the canal and out of the corner of my eye I remember seeing a white lump in the water,” he said.
“I got it out and was in shock from what was in front of us”
“It looked like it had been there for a few weeks.”
The 30-year-old has been a dog owner himself in the past.
“I love dogs and just can’t believe someone could do this to another living, breathing animal,” he added.
Ricky and Darren, still in shock, then returned to Hope.
Hope CEO Sandy Smith said she found it hard to believe someone could do that to an animal.
“It’s absolutely shocking. We cannot believe someone would do such a thing,” she said.
“It’s outrageous and whoever has done this needs to be brought to justice.”
The RSPCA is currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the dog’s death.
The animal welfare charity’s inspectorate investigates complaints concerning animal cruelty and has powers to prosecute anyone found deliberately causing them harm.
Throughout the county last year, 62 people were reported of animal cruelty and neglect of which 32 were convicted.
RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant said: “The RSPCA faces a crisis that is stretching us to breaking point.”
“We show zero tolerance to animal abusers. Anyone causing animals pain for profit or pleasure will be tracked down and prosecuted.”
“We need the courts and councils, police and people who care to join us in standing up and getting justice for Britain’s abused animals.”
The number of people convicted rose by nearly a quarter in 2011 across the east of England.
Nearly 500 people in the region reported to the RSPCA prosecutions department - up from 451 in 2010 - and 15 people were given prison sentences.
A spokesman for the RSPCA said it was a ‘very disturbing’ case: “We would appeal to anyone who has any information regarding this incident to call 0300 123 8018.”