A Labrador has suffered a painful injury from a discarded fish hook while on Seaham beach - which has sparked a warning to all dog owners.
Rachael Bell and Allen Weston were enjoying a Sunday morning walk when they heard Tex, their six-month-old red fox Labrador, yelp.
They found a two-inch fish hook had pierced his bottom lip, leaving him distressed and in pain.
The other end of the hook was attached to a huge ball of fishing net, which hindered their attempts to free Tex, but they eventually managed to cut the wire with a car key.
The couple then quickly drove him to Gilmoor Vets in Gilesgate, Durham City, where their beloved pet was sedated while a vet removed the fishhook.
Rachael and Allen, from Silksworth, Sunderland, were walking with Tex and their 14-month-old daughter Alice when the incident happened.
Rachael said: “We went down to the sea front at Seaham to allow Tex to have a run about as there was no one else on the beach.
“We thought he was eating seaweed and then we heard a yelp. He was standing on wire, which was attached to the hook, and every time he moved it pulled at his mouth.
"It was extremely difficult to snap the wire and we saw the fish hook was right through his bottom lip and it was awful seeing him in so much pain.
“There were a lot of fish hook discarded and we hope what happened to Tex will encourage other dog owners to be vigilant if they are on the beach.”
They noticed dozens of fish hooks discarded on the beach and Gilmoor Vets, which also has surgeries in Sunderland and Spennymoor, is urging dog walkers to be cautious to avoid their pets suffering similar injuries.
Gilmoor Vets Clinical Director Deborah Stafford said: “Fish hooks can potentially cause nasty, painful external injuries and even life-threatening injurie if swallowed as they are very sharp, solid metal hooks. The backward facing barbs mean these cannot be pulled back out.
“Dogs will be tempted by the fishy smell as they think there is fish to eat, but then they risk getting these sharp hooks stuck in their skin”