RSPCA officials said they are investigating a “distressing report” of men repeatedly throwing a greyhound into the sea.
The RSPCA is urging anyone with information to come forward following reports of a muzzled dogbeing repeatedly thrown into the water tethered to a line.
A very distressing reportRSPCA
A witness said the incident was ‘one of the most horrific things she had ever seen’.
A woman, who did not want to be named, said her friend was left traumatised by what she saw.
She said: “She was out walking with her own dogs near the Brus Tunnel.
“When she got through the tunnel she saw three men with nine greyhounds, all of which were muzzled.
“There is a huge concrete pipe that goes right out into the water and one of the men walked along it and started throwing one of the dogs into the water and then yanking it back out by a lead or rope and then doing it over and over again.
“Even though he was getting soaked himself, he just kept doing it.”
She said the incident happened on Thursday afternoon and her friend immediately tried to contact emergency services, but couldn’t get through and became too frightened to hang around.
She said: “They were three big men in their 30s and my friend felt quite intimidated by them. She got her phone out to try and take a photograph, but was too frightened to take the picture because they looked threatening.”
The woman, who believed the trio were travelling in a van, left and called the RSPCA and police.
Her friend said: “She was really shaken up by what had happened. She said it was one of the most horrific things she had ever seen and the dog was petrified.
“Greyhounds are the most placid, lovely natured dogs you can get and people like this do some horrific things to them. The animal cruelty in Hartlepool just seems to be getting worse.”
A spokesman for the RSPCA, said: “On Thursday (2 November) we received a very distressing report that a group of men with a number of dogs were seen in Hartlepool repeatedly throwing one of the dogs - a greyhound - into the water.
“An inspector launched an investigation and attended the scene but the group had moved on.
“We’re appealing for anyone with information to contact us on our cruelty line by calling 0300 1234 999.”