A DOG owner has been left devastated after discovering her beloved pet had been tortured to death before being set alight.

Michelle Remmer launched an internet campaign in a desperate attempt to try and locate her dog Kenzy after it went missing at the weekend.

However, she was left horrified when she was told a dog had been found on fire on Sunday at about 7pm by a group of young people who had tried to put the flames out.

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The dog's remains were finally recovered today (Wednesday, June 18) and the distraught dog owner had to identify her pet.

She said: “It's cruel sick and twisted. I just don't have the words. I'm not happy about my private business being out for all to see, but I need whoever did that to her caught.”

Dog wardens from Hartlepool Council recovered the dog from a farm track off in the Owton Manor area near Marlowe Road.

A council spokesman said: “All of our staff are devastated at the outcome of the search as they had been hoping to find it alive and well. It is both staggering and shocking that someone would inflict such injuries on a defenceless dog.”

A police and RSPCA investigation has been launched.

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “On Sunday evening, we received a report from a member of the public to say she had been approached by some young people who had found a dead dog on fire close to Monkton Road in Hartlepool and that they had tried to use water from a nearby beck to extinguish it.

“Officers informed the RSPCA and later went to the scene where they found the dog and moved it to a secluded wooded area, where they covered it over."

Anyone with information is urged to call Cleveland Police on the non-emergency number 101.

Today (June 18) RSPCA figures showed that the North-East has the worst animal cruelty record in the country.