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Police hunt owner of dog which mauled Freddie the seal near Thames

Officers are ‘looking to identify witnesses and to speak to the owner of the dog involved’ (Pictures: Duncan Phillips)

Police have confirmed they are looking to speak to the owner of a dog that savaged a beloved seal which had taken up residence in the River Thames.

The adorable young common seal pup, which had been nicknamed Freddie Mercury in honour of the late Queen singer, had been entertaining riverside walkers near Hammersmith Bridge in Barnes, west London, since arriving up stream on the river last month.

But distressing pictures showed the young pup being mauled by a brown cross-breed at shortly before 1pm on Sunday.

Social media users took to Twitter to pay tribute to the popular animal – and call for the dog owner to face a fine.

Passers-by who witnessed the attack, including a vet, rushed to the seal’s aid and he was taken to the South Essex Wildlife Hospital for treatment, including pain relief and scans.

But the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) said in a statement he was found to have a fractured flipper and a dislocated joint, and his prognosis was ‘extremely poor’.

The hospital wrote in a Facebook post: ‘At this stage we believe the only ethical and fair option we have is to end his suffering.’

?Freddie? the seal attacked by dog near Hammersmith Bridge

Distressing pictures showed the young being mauled by a brown cross-breed (Picture: Duncan Phillips)
Freddie was found to have a fractured flipper and a dislocated joint (Picture: Laura Bates/BDMLR)
The hospital said in a sad statement that ‘the only ethical and fair option we have is to end his suffering’ (Picture: Facebook)

The Metropolitan Police has since confirmed officers are investigating the pup’s death and ‘looking to identify witnesses and to speak to the owner of the dog involved’.

In a statement, a Met spokesperson said: ‘Police are investigating the death of a seal after it was injured by a dog on the River Thames near Hammersmith Bridge.

‘Officers attended the location at approximately 12.39 on Sunday, March 21 along with colleagues from the London Fire Brigade.

‘They recovered the young pup from the river bank and it was taken to a rescue centre for treatment, but had to be put down later, due to injuries sustained in the incident.

‘Officers are looking to identify witnesses and to speak to the owner of the dog involved. Enquiries continue.

‘The RSPCA has been informed.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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