An animal charity worker has spoken of her horror after the burned body of a dog was found on a Sunderland pathway.
Lisa Scott, who runs city charity Happier Days for Strays, said she has been left 'sickened' by the discovery.
The RSPCA said it is unclear if the male Rottweiler dog, believed to be aged between eight and 11-years-old, was set on fire before or after he died.
Lisa told how she was called to the riverside pathway at South Hylton after a dog walker made the gruesome discovery on Tuesday afternoon.
She said the dog was lying on top of what had been a fire and half of its body was burned.
Lisa said: "It was horrific. All its intestines were outside the body, so I don't know what had happened to it. I can only hope it was already dead before being set on fire.
"But, no matter what happened, there is no justification for disposing of the body in that way.
The Echo has seen pictures of the awful injuries suffered by the animal, but decided they are too harrowing to publish.
The dog rescue worker said all she could do was wrap the dog in blankets and remove it for the scene before alerting the RSPCA, which has now launched an investigation.
Lisa said: "Lots of people use that path for walking their dogs and it would have been very upsetting for anyone that might have seen the body.
"To be honest, it has knocked all of us sick."
It is believed the incident must have happened on Monday night because the man who made the gruesome discovery walks his pet there every day and hadn't seen it the evening before.
RSPCA inspector Terry-Ann Fannon, said: "This was an absolutely horrible and upsetting thing to come across.
"At the moment we don't know how this dog died, and whether he was set on fire before or afterwards.
"If anyone has any information at all about him, or saw anything that they think will help my investigation into what has happened here, please call the RSPCA inspector appeal line 0300 123 8018 and ask to leave a message for me."
Lisa said Happier Days for Strays is raising money to have the dog properly cremated after the RSPCA has finished its investigation.
Anyone wishing to make a donation can visit the charity's shop in Hylton Road.