THIS Border collie was left to die inside a coastal cave.
Rescuers believe the aim could have been to drown the dog after he was tied to a rock under the cliff tops of Seaham beach, near to North Terrace.
Now the affectionate tricolour pet is being given care and attention as efforts are made to find him new owners.
He was taken to Value Vets, in Church Street, by a couple who found him, where he has since won the hearts of the staff.
The dog is thought to be aged between 12 and 18 months old, and has been named Costa by the surgery’s staff as he was found on the “Costa del Seaham”.
The firm’s head nurse Diane Kelly runs rescue service Adoptadog in her own time and will look after Costa until a home can be found.
Diane, from Haswell, said: “The couple heard howling when they were walking their own dogs on Saturday night and thought it was kids.
“But when they went down on Sunday morning and heard the same howling and barking.
“They went and had a look and found him tied to the boulder with a chain lead.”
She added: “To tie a dog up like that is absolutely horrendous. The tide could have come in and that would have been it.”
Vet James Osman has carried out an assessment of Costa and found he was “none the worse” for his ordeal.
He has been vaccinated, neutered and trained to prepare him for a new home.
Diane added: “The people who found him were going to keep him, but he kept going for the other dogs when they were feeding.
“We’ll be able to get that out of him. It won’t take long.
“He’s actually really lovely, a typical collie and he was fine with my dogs.
“He might make someone a really fantastic working pet.”
Costa is one of more than a dozen dogs being cared for by Adoptadog.
Anyone interested in giving him or one of his kennel mates a home can contact Diane on 07780 962 244.