Police are hunting a quad bike rider after a family dog was killed following a collision in woodland near Northampton.
Officers revealed alarmed owners heard their six-year-old Lurcher yelp loudly while out for a walk in Stoke Park Wood, near Stoke Bruerne.
They rushed the seriously injured pet to an emergency vet but, sadly, the dog could not be saved.
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PC Chris Bird, of South Northants Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "The sound of vehicles in the woods prior to the incident and wheel marks at the scene suggest the dog was in collision with a quad bike.
"The rider of the quad bike had left the scene before the dog’s owners found her. It is believed they may have possibly ridden off in the direction of the bridleway between Alderton and Shutlanger.
"We believe the quad bike would have sustained damage in the collision, and would like to hear from anyone who may have seen the bike in the area of Shutlanger or Alderton, or who may have been asked to repair the damage."
The sickening incident happened between midday and 1pm on Sunday, December 6.
PC Bird added: “There has been an increase in the use of quad bikes and motorcycles in South Northants recently, and we have been pro-actively working with our partner agencies, to prevent illegal riding to protect those lawfully visiting our countryside.
“This incident highlights the risks and dangers of riding illegally in our countryside and the mindlessness of leaving an animal not only suffering but also for the dog’s owners to find. Someone must know who this rider was.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Northamptonshire Police on 101 quoting reference number 20000673514. Or, alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.