A puppy was stolen by a group of teenagers then tortured for hours and set on fire in what RSPCA inspectors have called the "most disturbing" case of animal cruelty they have ever seen.
Chunky, a chihuahua cross, was taken from his owner and subjected to the horrific ordeal, during which time his neck was broken and face set alight.
Less than one year old at the time, Chunky was also fed drugs before being thrown in a rubbish tip and left for dead in Margate, Kent.
Incredibly, the little pup survived and was found by a passer-by the next day. He has since been returned to his owner.
The four teenagers responsible have been disqualified from keeping animals for five years and have been ordered to pay costs.
Three of the youths were aged 16 and one was 15 years old at the time of the offence, which took place in February.
The final court hearing was on Tuesday. None of the youths can be named for legal reasons.
RSPCA inspector Caroline Doe said: “This was the most disturbing case I have ever dealt with - by an absolute mile.
“These youths admitted feeding him drugs, and kicking and punching him, and wringing and breaking his neck before dumping him. They also said they set fire to his face and eyes after lighting a deodorant aerosol can.
“The whole thing sends shivers down my spine. The defendants may have been young and confessed to being under the influence of drugs but the cruelty they inflicted on this poor dog was extreme, barbaric and inexcusable.
“Chunky was found with a broken leg and neck, and with burns all over his face and eyes. He must have suffered horrendously for hours as the senseless torture took place for the amusement of these boys.
“What was perhaps even worse was the fact Chunky suffered for days after he was dumped - literally left for dead on his own to wander next to a fast road.
“It is a miracle he survived. I will never forget how terrified and depressed he was when I first saw him. The injuries were so severe that despite the fantastic veterinary care and medication he was on, the medication was unable to numb all of the pain, and he suffered for at least six days according to veterinary experts.
“Thankfully he has now been restored to health and returned to his loving owners, though I fear he will always be timid and nervous as a result of his ordeal, and imagine the owners will never quite be able to come to terms with what was senseless and needlessly inflicted on their beautiful family pet.”
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