A dog walker in Haydon made a horrific discovery on 2nd February,

finding the body of a spaniel that had been shot dead. The case has fuelled a petition locally that has reached nearly 8,000 signatures, following a decision by the RSPCA not to prosecute. Shocked and saddened by the news, locals are holding a peaceful vigil where the dog was found – to show compassion for the animal and to send a message that actions of this kind are not acceptable.

Speaking to The Journal about the case, a spokesperson for the RSPCA said: “We’re deeply saddened by this horrific and gruesome discovery and are grateful for everyone who has supported investigations.

“The dog’s body was taken for a post mortem at an independent specialist vet who found he had been shot, with no evidence of any other injuries.

“Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is an offence for anyone to cause an animal unnecessary suffering.

“As a charity which investigates animal cruelty, we rely on evidence from examinations and tests conducted by veterinary professionals. In this instance, the veterinary

professionals concluded the dog had not suffered unnecessarily.

“While we absolutely do not condone anyone killing a dog in this way, and sympathise with all those distressed by this incident, our officers must always operate within the confines of the law. If a dog needs to be put to sleep then a qualified vet is the right person to euthanise an animal humanely and painlessly.

“We will continue to liaise with authorities to assist with any further enquiries.”

The woman who found the dog is reportedly disputing the finding that he had no other injuries, died quickly or pain free and is calling on the RSPCA and the police to investigate further. It has also been reported that the dog had been found and taken to a vet in Wells not long before the grim discovery, with claims that it may have been a failed attempt to abandon the dog. As he was microchipped, the owner had been traced and the dog returned.

Shine a Light for Buster will take place on Sunday, 6th March at 6 pm at the top of Haydon Hill.

Whilst none of the

information below may be relevant to this case, we thought it might be

helpful to include, should anyone locally be struggling with animal care. With the rising cost of living, unemployment and other such factors arising at the moment, there are ways of ensuring your pet can go to a good home if you are struggling to cope, your circumstances change, or you are unable to afford to look after them anymore.

Giving up your pet can be a last resort, but there are animal shelters that can help locally, such as Bath Cats & Dogs Home in Claverton. If your local RSPCA branch cannot help, other charities may be able to, such as Battersea, Blue Cross, Cats Protection or ADCH (Association of Dogs and Cats Homes). Search online for information.

If vet bills are too high, you may be eligible for financial assistance and pet insurance that can cover future unexpected bills. Your vet may also offer a payment plan, discounts or vouchers.

If your animal has developed behavioural problems, get them checked out by a vet to rule out illness or injury, then consult an expert clinical animal behaviourist.

If you feel like you have exhausted all options and are not sure what to do next or you are concerned for an animal’s welfare, contact: 0300 1234 999.