Warning: This story contains images of the animal's injuries which some people may find distressing
A pet owner from County Durham said her dog had to be put down after being "set on fire" in what detectives described as a targeted attack.
Angela Clennell was left heartbroken when her eight-year-old cocker spaniel Lucky died on Friday (29 July) after suffering extensive burns.
The 56-year-old said Lucky was taken from her garden in Ouston, near Chester-le-Street, along with a second dog called Sandy at about 10pm last Wednesday.
While Sandy escaped, Ms Clennell said Lucky was "doused with petrol" before being "set alight".
She was later found injured in the Deneside area of Lanchester and was taken to Dunelm Vets, in Gilesgate, before she was transferred to Wear Referrals Veterinary Specialist and Emergency Hospital.
The pet owner said she was told Lucky suffered burns on more than 50% of her body and that she would probably not survive treatment.
Lucky therefore had to be put down due to the extent of her injuries.
'She was unrecognisable'
Officers investigating the incident said it was a "targeted attack as a result of an ongoing dispute" and there was no wider threat to other dogs.
"Lucky was a working dog so she was in the kennel outside," said Ms Clennell. "Sandy ran off but they doused Lucky in petrol and set her alight.
"She was found by a girl walking her dog but she couldn't catch her, her skin was smouldering and she was running around.
"The fire service managed to get her and the police, who had been at my property, took her to the vet. Her injuries were absolutely horrific, she was unrecognisable."
Ms Clennell said the loss of her dog had devastated her, adding: "She was an innocent dog that has done nothing to anybody, she was such a loving dog.
"She was really placid, she was a really happy dog, who was always wagging her tail and now she's gone.
"The vet said it was the worst case he had seen and he's a specialist on skin burns. It has just absolutely devastated me and I'm so angry. It's just horrific."
Consett Police said on Wednesday that a man had been arrested after a dog was seriously injured when it was stolen from a garden in Ouston.
'No wider threat to other dogs in our community'
Durham Constabulary confirmed on Friday that the man had been bailed and a second man was assisting the police with inquiries.
Detective Inspector Daniel Peacock said: "We are satisfied this is a targeted attack as a result of an ongoing dispute.
"We are confident there is no wider threat to other dogs in our community and it is not linked to the theft of dogs for purposes of breeding or sale.
"Our investigation into this horrific incident is ongoing and we would appreciate anyone who may have seen something to come forward and speak to us.
"We understand how impactive incidents like this are and are asking for information from our communities to assist the investigation and bring the offenders to justice."
Following the incident, a Go Fund Me page was set up and within just days more than £8,600 was raised.
Anyone with any information is asked to call Durham Constabulary on 101, quoting incident reference 467 of July 27 or via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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