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Staff at a Bahrain animal sanctuary believe an intruder horrifically mutilated a puppy in their care leaving the three-month old animal, scalped, whimpering in agony and bleeding to death.
The puppy named Scooby was found still breathing with its ears cut off and skin from the back of its head and neck removed.
A suspicious-looking man had been spotted lurking around the BSPCA premises in Saar the previous week.
The sanctuary has recently been at the centre of a bitter war of words over noise caused by the barking animals keeping neighbours awake at night.
"I couldn't believe what I was seeing; it was the most horrific act of senseless brutality. Now I am petrified that something else will happen to the animals here," said BSPCA sanctuary manager, Sandy Carter, who discovered the pup on Friday morning.
Veterinary surgeon Jenny Hughes was called to the scene and was forced to put the animal down because of the severity of its injuries.
She said: "Initially we thought it was a case of the puppy getting its head caught in something and rubbing and ripping itself until it was free.
"But we've been through every inch of the enclosure looking for evidence and there isn't any; injuries like that would have caused a lot of bleeding.
"It seems unbelievable that a person would do it - it's too sick to imagine."
She added that the injuries were not consistent with an attack by another dog or wild animal.
Mrs Carter said that a suspicious looking man had been spotted loitering near the sanctuary at night on three separate occasions in the past week.
"It is just too coincidental," she said. "Scooby was found in a different enclosure to the one we left him in, and there is no way he could have got out."
BSPCA Supervisor Jagath Nishantha said the man was about 5ft 4ins, of Arabic appearance and was wearing a black coat and hat. "We told him to go away but he would just stand there staring," he said.
In recent weeks an angry debate over barking dogs has been fought in the letters section of our sister newspaper, the Gulf Daily News.
"I am worried that this could be the tip of the iceberg," said Mrs Carter. "Ever since the letters in the GDN I have worried about someone trying to harm the dogs."
"I believe someone broke in, took the dog, tortured it and put it back. They used the strong winds on Thursday night as a cover because all the dogs and supervisors were sheltering inside.
"We are extremely worried about the safety of our animals."
Mrs Carter said improved security measures will have to be introduced on the site. "It is a shame that money that should have gone to caring for the animals now has to be spent on security," she added.
Police are investigating and officers in Budaiya will be stepping up patrols in the area.