SICK yobs tortured and brutally killed a much-loved family dog before dousing it in petrol and torching its lifeless body.
The shocking incident coincides with the release of RSPCA figures which show Hartlepool and the surrounding area has the second highest rate of animal cruelty in the country.
Even more worryingly, the brutal killing of the dog happened in the same area where a rabbit from a children’s nursery was found hanging dead from a tree after being similarly tortured last month.
Mum Michelle Remmer broke down in tears as she described the killers of her dog Kenzy as “sick”, and after explaining how she took the dog in as a stray seven years ago she spoke of her heartache that nobody else could do the same after she escaped from the family home at the weekend.
Michelle, 40, said the cross Lakeland terrier escaped from her house in Monach Road, in the Owton Manor area, in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The mum-of-two spent hours searching the streets for Kenzy, and put an appeal out for help from friends on Facebook. She carried out a further search on Monday evening into the early hours of Tuesday, but was left distragught after someone got in touch to say her friend had seen a dog in flames while walking her own pet on a farmtrack near to the Manor estate.
Michelle, who works in a driving instructor contact centre, said: “I had feared the worst because Kenzy was such a loving dog, she would go to anyone.
“I kept hoping that maybe someone had seen her wandering about and took her in, but the longer I looked the more I started to think something bad had happened.
“But nothing could have prepared me to hear this had happened to her. I still can’t believe it.
“It is just absolutely horrific. It’s sick.”
Michelle, mum to Rebecca, 19, and 18-year-old Sophie, got in touch with police after being told they had been informed of the incident and officers confirmed they had seen the remains of the dog and had moved it away from public view into some nearby bushes.
Michelle added: “The police said from what they found, the description matched Kenzy.
“Because of the state she was in, there wasn’t a lot they could do other than move her under some brambles.
“They said she had been covered in an accelerant, and that she was most likely dead before she was set fire to.
“But I won’t rest until I get her back home. I don’t care what state she is in. I want to bury her in the garden, I don’t just want to let her rot.
“It sounds awful, but I’d rather she had been run over. To die like this is horrific.
“I brought her into our family home as a stray seven years ago. It would have been nice if someone else could have done the same when she was wandering the streets before these sick people got hold of her.
“It may just be a dog to anyone else, but she was part of our family and I feel like someone has been murdered.
“It’s only a few weeks ago since somebody hung a rabbit from a tree round the corner. Now it’s a dog.
“What possesses people to do this?”
A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “We had a report on Sunday from a member of the public who had been informed by some young people that a dog was on fire near to the beck.
“Officers attended the scene and found the dog dead, and the RSPCA were informed.”
Anyone with any information about the incident can call police on 101.