1. ITV Report

Group of youths set dog on fox in cruel attack

Police said the fox was "scared stiff" and had suffered puncture wounds Credit: Cleveland Police / PA

A group of teenagers set a dog on a fox in a cruel attack, police have said.

Officers in Middlesborough shared a picture of the animal cowering in a corner after it was trapped by a group of boys.

They said it was hurt with what appeared to be puncture wounds.

Some of the youths seemed "excited" by the animal's injuries and even remained after police arrived in the hope that they would see it shot, said PC Chris Swales, of Cleveland Police.

He shared a picture of the fox which he said was "scared stiff" and injured after the ordeal on Monday night.

Witnesses describe how the teenagers chased and cornered it before encouraging the dog to attack.

What makes it worse....if possible is that the youths who didn't make off on police arrival seemed excited by the injuries and wanted to "shoot it". Others were kicking the fence from the other side despite police being there.

– PC Chris Swales

PC Swales said the fox had been taken away for treatment by the RSPCA, in a post left on the Coulby Newham and South Middlesbrough Neighbourhood Police Team's Facebook page.

Commenters on the page have expressed anger and disgust at the attack.

Sue Collin wrote: " This is so sad, a beautiful creature being so cruelly hurt, it breaks my heart that we have to live in a world with such disgusting people."

Philip Barnbrook added: "I hope this fox makes a swift recovery and that the youths are found (and hopefully charged for animal cruelty) and the dog is re-homed/taken away from the owner. Good luck fox."