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.
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."