'Freddie Mercury' the seal attacked by dog in West London

A seal named by locals after Queen singer 'Freddie Mercury' has been mauled by a dog near Hammersmith Bridge.

The seal was attacked on Sunday by a cross-breed which had been let off the lead by its owner.

Before the attack, Freddie had been seen regularly on the banks of the Thames and become something of a local celebrity.

He is being cared for by South Essex Wildlife Hospital after being taken by boat to Tilbury.

Writing on their Facebook page the hospital said: "The flipper is very swollen and despite antibiotics and pain relief the seal is clearly very uncomfortable and reluctant to eat. We suspect the infection is spreading and with the other bite wounds to his body he is very miserable."

A JustGiving page set up to raise money for British Divers Marine Life Rescue has already smashed its target and raised over £3,000.

"The presence of ‘Freddie Mercury’ the seal pup has brought much needed joy and smiles to our community in Barnes, South West London, since he arrived last month," said Rebecca Da Re who set up the fundraiser.

"He has become a national treasure in the process, appearing on This Morning and various news channels. A happy and content seal pup, accepting of all visitors that came to see him," she added.