A dog was found floating in an Accrington pond after being stabbed 18 times in a frenzied attack.
An RSPCA inspector has labelled the killing of the ‘good natured’ beagle crossbreed one of the most horrific cases he’s ever seen.
And there are fears whoever is responsible could strike again on another defenceless animal.
The RSPCA has launched an appeal for witnesses into the horror attack at Peel Park.
The tan and white dog, named Snoopy, was discovered by dog walkers hours after its death.
It was first thought he was killed in a barbaric dog fight, but post-mortem results showed no evidence of fighting. Lancashire RSPCA chief inspector Rob Melloy said the 18-month-old dog died between 3.30 and 9.45 on the morning of Saturday, September 25.
He said: "It’s horrendous what that poor dog went through. It was a brutal and sustained attack.
"Basically the dog is quite a large dog and it was taken to, or found at this remote location in the park.
"You go through the park and walk up through the wood to a coppice and a pond.
"In the middle of the night or early hours of the morning it was unlikely anyone would be around.
"The stab wounds were pretty much all over - the abdomen, chest, neck and jaw. The dog would have struggled like crazy to get away.
"Whoever did it would have literally have had bloody on their hands."
No witnesses have been found to the incident, although there were reports of voices and possibly a distressed dog.
Snoopy had been re-homed last summer after spending some time at the RSPCA centre in Altham.
It is not known whether he had become lost or stolen.
Mr Melloy said all lines of enquiry were open at this stage and police were being kept informed.
He said: "I’ve been in the job a long time and seen a lot of horrendous things and this is probably one of the worst.
"To restrain a struggling dog and stab it 18 times until either unconscious or dead, it doesn’t get much worse than that. At 18 months old Snoopy was not much more than a puppy.
"This was a defenceless animal who, in the time he was in RSPCA care was one of the favourites at the centre.
He was a very good natured dog. Somebody knows who has done this and we cannot let this go unpunished.
"There’s been a lot of research into people who harm animals and whoever has done this could go on and do it a person."