A hound that was beaten with a club and then thrown into a dump to die is now fighting for his life after being rescued by an animal charity.
Cork Dog Action Welfare Group (CDAWG) has been caring for the dog, which it has named Fionn, after he was spotted by a walker in a ditch in south Cork.
The charity believes it has identified the owner and is trying to clarify the circumstances in which the dog sustained his injuries.
Gardai and welfare officials are satisfied the dog was not struck by a car and was deliberately thrown into the ditch.
Fionn, who is believed to be more than eight years old, initially responded well to treatment and to feeding.
However, his condition deteriorated on Sunday and he was diagnosed with a brain swelling.
Fionn was able to eat a little boiled chicken but his condition is critical. "The poor boy has been through so much and is still so affectionate. We just need to keep waiting and hoping," a CDAWG official said.
An X-ray revealed the hound had a fractured skull most likely caused by being beaten with a blunt object like a club.
He was in a semi-starved condition and his skin was almost totally covered with sores.
"One of the hardest things in rescue is the plight of old dogs who are discarded just simply because they are too old," the spokesman added.
Happily, the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said there has been a welcome increase in the number of people now sourcing pets from shelters and pounds.