PEOPLE have been searching a town to try and rescue a three-legged, Romanian street dog.

The young bitch, called Sweetpea, vanished on Wednesday evening and dozens of people have reported sightings on a special Facebook page.

Sweetpea, a cross-breed, slipped out of her collar at Cowpen Bewley Park, Billingham, and has been seen many times since.

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However, because she was a street dog, she is wary of humans and the only human Sweetpea trusts is owner, Alison Rigby.

Ms Rigby took Sweetpea and another Romanian dog, Apple, in several months ago from a charity called Tripawds which re-homes dogs which have had amputations.

Tripawds founder, Caroline Murphy, explained that dogs are left to roam in such numbers in Romania they are sometimes hit by cars. Another charity, called Love Underdogs, transport some to the UK and Mrs Murphy agreed to try and rehome them, eventually finding Ms Rigby.

She said: “She was a very shy dog missing a front leg and it has been lovely to see pictures and videos of her progressing and enjoying life with Alison. When the news came that she’d escaped my stomach sunk, I was nearly sick. Alison is such a fantastic owner who has done so much and she’s beside herself.”

Confirmed sightings so far include the Esso Garage on Norton Road, Billy Bank, Billingham Beck Ecology Park and John Whitehead Park. Stockton council’s dog wardens have been informed.

Ms Rigby, speaking on the Facebook site, said: “People have been amazing and I can't thank everyone enough for your help and kindness in getting our baby back home. If you have a sighting please call 07960 364540.”