Dozens of readers have reacted with anger after an "aggressive" and abandoned dog was killed.
The animal was destroyed yesterday in Hartlepool after police officers responded to reports of a distressed Caucasian Shepherd. It was tied to a pole in the town's Mainsforth Terrace, and was rumoured to have been there all night.
It comes as more than 5,000 people have signed a petition which has been set up following the incident calling for justice for the dog.
Cleveland Police confirmed that, after hours of working with partner agencies including the RSPCA, the difficult decision was made to destroy the animal, which they say became increasingly aggressive as time went on.
Speaking yesterday, a police spokesman said: "The decision to destroy the dog has not been taken lightly and this was the very last course of action that we wanted to take."
"All attempts to calm the dog failed. Vets advised that they were unable to sedate the dog due to not being able to approach it and not having equipment to sedate from a distance.
"Unfortunately veterinary professionals advised that the dog could not be re-homed due to its aggressive behaviour."
Dozens of you got in touch via social media. Here are some of your comments:
Ella Marie: "This is absolutely disgusting could have at least sedated it first and [gave] it a chance. Shame on the owner, hope you can live with yourself."
Rob Tindale: "Someone must know the monster who left him!"
Theresa Jemison: "For someone to do this is unforgivable, as well as knowing the terrible weather at present is it any wonder the poor dog was defensive? Cold, hungry, confused, distressed and wondering why its owner wasn't coming back."
Kelly-Ann Crompton: "So sad, it doesn't bear thinking about how scared and frightened this dog must have been to be left like that and out in -3 temperature like we had last night, words fail me.
"I hope whoever did this is found and dealt with accordingly, but yet again it's the poor dog who has suffered."
Al Robinson: "Seems like people are very quick to judge here. Instead of taking your frustrations out on the people who had to resolve the situation try venting at the scum who left it there in the first place."
Ann Halliwell: "Someone knows who owned this dog speak up and get [the] owner done. It [looked] a grand dog, no one gave it a chance, we are supposed to respect RSPCA I now have my doubts. So do many others."
Joyce Malone: "The poor dog would of been scared they didn't give the poor thing a chance."
Denise Byron: "This is so sad, it was a dog not an escaped lion. It was tied up, cold and terrified surely they could have drugged some meat to sedate it. A wolf escaped from a sanctuary in England and was recaptured this week and yet we have to shoot a dog tied to a tree."
Rosalind Henderson: "Aggressive, probably scared and cold and wondering what the hell has happened to be stuck there. Could of sedated the poor thing and gave him a chance, so sad poor thing. RIP poor dog you didn't deserve this."
Charlotte Macgregor: "You could have waited till you had a dart gun to sedate the dog. She was tied up, she wasn’t running loose! What a sad end to her life, abandoned in the cold and shot dead!"