AN elderly dog was callously dumped on the side of a road and left to be eaten alive by maggots.

Misty the St Bernard was in such a terrible state that when she was found by a member of the public in Fletchwood Lane, Totton , she had collapsed and had numerous holes all over her body where maggots were burrowing into her skin.

The eight-year-old’s infection was so serious that vets had no choice but to shave the shaken canine from head to toe to remove the infestation and relieve her from her suffering.

The RSPCA has now launched an investigation to track down those responsible for allowing her to get into such a state and for abandoning her without food or water.

A microchip found under her skin identified her as Misty and registered her to an address in Southend-on-Sea but her owners no longer live there and neighbours said they had moved on three or four years ago.

Misty, who also has a tumour on her right eye, has responded well to medication and is healing nicely thanks to the care she has received at the Stubbington Ark Animal Shelter, where she is staying before she heads off to her new home, where she can enjoy her last days in comfort.

RSPCA inspector Patrick Bailey, who has been leading the investigation since she was discovered on July 29, said: “We have drawn a blank and are now appealing for the public to come forward with any information.

“It is possible Misty was still living somewhere in Southend and was simply abandoned in Totton but without knowing the full story we cannot rule anything out, so we would urge anyone with information to come forward.

“From the condition that Misty was in, it would seem she has been kept as an outside dog and it is likely that somebody has seen her in a neighbour’s garden at some point and will perhaps now realise she is no longer there.”

Under the Animal Welfare Act, anyone found guilty of causing deliberate suffering to an animal can face up to six months in prison and/or a £20,000 fine.

Insp Bailey added: “We are hoping that someone will have information about where she has been living, who she belongs to, and crucially how she came to be abandoned in such a poor state.”

Anyone with information can call the RSPCA on 0300 123 8018 and leave a message for Insp Bailey.