Four dogs found dead have sparked a police probe amid mounting fears pet owners are struggling to afford to keep their animals in the cost of living crunch.
The bodies of four American Bulldogs were found wrapped in plastic bags and floating in the water by horrified members of the public in Abbeywood, south east London.
The animals – three adult dogs and a seven-month-old puppy – were pulled Southmere Lakes by a marine unit at just before 9pm on Saturday.
They had been in the water for up to two days, police said.
The find comes amid fears they couldn’t look after the dogs amid the no longer afford to keep their pets.
Vicki Hudson, director of lost dog organisation the Missing Paw Team UK, said it was the worst case she had seen for years.
She said: “I can’t really put into words how much this has affected me and others involved in the case. It’s just horrendous.
“All the dogs appeared to have been cared for and were well nourished with no signs of neglect, so it’s unbelievable they’ve ended up like this.
“If the owners couldn’t afford to keep them they could have handed them in for rescue.”
As well as the pup, two of the dogs were female and the other male – about two years old.
They were worth up to £4,000 each if used for breeding and puppies sell for £5,000.
“This is an extremely sad incident for all those involved,” she added.
“But I’d like to thank the members of the public who made the initial call and members of the Met Police and Marine policing unit for their assistance.”
Post-mortems will be carried out to ascertain if they were dead before they were chucked in the lake.
A Met Police spokesperson said: “Police are investigating an allegation of animal cruelty after four dogs were recovered dead from a lake.
“Officers were called at 8.49pm on Saturday, September 24, to Southmere Lake, Bazalgette Way, SE22.
“A person had reported three sacks floating in the lake which appeared to have something inside them.
“Marine Policing Unit officers attended and the bodies of four dogs were recovered from the lake. The dogs appeared to be similar to the American Bulldog type.
“The RSPCA have been informed and the MPS is working in consultation with them. Post mortems will take place in due course.
“Any witnesses or anyone with any information is asked to call police.”