TWO dogs have died after being found with gunshot wounds in Shildon.

The young adult lurchers, one male and one female, were found by residents at about 8.45am this morning (December 7).

Police officers confirmed they had received a call saying one of the dogs had been found on Roseberry Terrace, while the second was found already dead outside the Hallgarth Surgery, in Cheapside.

The RSPCA were called at about 9am and discovered that both animals, believed to be aged around one or two years old, were dead.

They were taken to an emergency vets in Darlington where an x-ray revealed both had been shot in the chest.

A single pellet was found in both of the animals’ lungs.

RSPCA Inspector Krissy Raine, who found the dogs, said she initially thought they had been poisoned after finding them covered in vomit.

“We were called at about 9am to a dog that had been found in Shildon. It was just laid on the floor in its own vomit outside the doctor’s surgery and another dog was alive, but struggling to breathe, and when we got to it that one had died too,” she said.

Inspector Raine said witnesses had told her the dog had been seen roaming the area at 1.30am and again at 7.30am before they were found and were likely to have been pets.

The RSPCA will now be working with the police to examine CCTV in an attempt to find out what happened to the animals and are appealing for any witnesses to come forward.

She added: “Obviously, these dogs have had a horrible, painful death in freezing cold conditions. They died on the street and I think someone knows who it was and who is responsible for what’s happened to them.

“It’s just such an awful thing to do – someone has obviously been horrible enough to do that so god knows what they are capable of.”

Inspector Raine said the dogs were possibly brother and sister and were not collared or microchipped.

She also said it was possible the shots could have come from an air rifle.

She added: “We want to appeal for anyone with any information to come forward.”

If you have any information call the RSPCA on 03001234999.