A vet sadly decided the Patterdale terrier type animal, which was found by a kind-hearted dog walker lying on a track near the council depot on Dalby Road, should be put to sleep to prevent her suffering further.
The injured dog had bite wounds to her face, which are indicative of involvement in badger digging - and her skin was rotting from the bites and an infected rotten abscess. She also had chronic conjunctivitis.
RSPCA Inspector Helen Smith, who is investigating the incident, said: “The wounds this poor dog had to her face were awful and had been left untreated and had caused her skin to just rot away through infection.
“In our experience, the bite wounds are consistent with her having been used for badger digging.
“These are just awful injuries and she would have suffered an incredible amount of pain - it’s just heartbreaking to even think about.”
It is unknown, at present, who owned the dog, which was black with a white patch on her chest, and which was found on March 28 at around 11.45am.
The dog walker rescued the poor animal and took her home before taking her to a local vet.
The dog was microchipped but it was not registered.
Inspector Smith added: “We are following up a number of leads and it is thought, given the condition she was in, she may have been taken to the spot in a vehicle.”
Anyone who knows who owned the dog or who has any specific information regarding the incident is asked to contact inspector in confidence on the RSPCA appeal line on 0300 123 8018.
Badger digging is a bloodsport in which dogs - usually small terrier types - are placed into a badger sett to locate, corner and pin a badger while their handlers dig down to them, often using GPS trackers.
They will then dig the badger out to kill it or will set larger dogs - often bull lurchers - on them to fight and kill.
Badger digging has been illegal since 1973 but is still rife across the countryside.
It causes incredible distress and suffering not only to the badgers but also to the dogs who are used, who often suffer severe injuries that go untreated.