EVEN hardened RSPCA officers were shocked by the brutal treatment suffered by a female shih tzu type dog in Hartlepool.

Vets, who found that her pelvis had been broken on at least three occasions, likened her condition to having been in a road accident.

She had also suffered fractures to her lower back, multiple broken ribs and bruising all over her body after being repeatedly beaten. In total, she had 29 fractured bones.

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RSPCA inspector Aislinn Balderston said: “This dog had suffered such appalling injuries it is harrowing to hear the details.

"Veterinary evidence shows she was repeatedly beaten with such violence and force that the vet likened her condition to having been in a road traffic collision.

"For someone to do something so savage to a small dog who couldn’t possibly have protected herself is disgusting.

"She would have suffered terrible pain and fear.”

A 19-year-old man from Hartlepool pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering by subjecting her to physical violence.

He and a 17 year old girl from Hartlepool also pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering by failing to seek vet care for her multiple fractures and by failing to provide a nutritionally balanced diet.

The man was sentenced to 18 weeks in custody and banned from keeping animals for life. The girl was given a youth referral order and banned from keeping animals for life.

The dog has now been rehomed and has settled in well.

In Eston, near Middlesbrough, a man was seen to strike an elderly horse called Samson 21 times with a stick as the animal tried to pull an overloaded trap up a hill.

Four men were sat onboard, but they did not bother to dismount.

Police were called to the scene who also witnessed Samson being struck while he was stationary.

Officers said Samson was moving from side to side rocking backwards and forwards.

He appeared to be distressed and exhausted, and stood with his head bowed and eyes closed. There was a fresh welt mark to his temple which was swollen.

His spine and pelvic bones were visible and he had a number of old scars to his body and fresh wounds to his face, front left girth area and side.

RSPCA inspector Emma Stainthorpe said: “Samson was covered all over in dried sweat. The vet assessed him as being old, thirsty, suffering from recent dehydration and in poor condition having recently suffered weight loss."

A 19-year-old man was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to Samson.

He was disqualified from keeping equines for three years, fined £200 and ordered to pay £200 costs.

Samson was rehomed to a children’s disability school.