The RSPCA has released an appeal after the “bloodstained” body of a dead XL Bully puppy was found in Bexleyheath just days before a ban on the breed begins.

The young female dog – believed to be just six to nine months old – was discovered in a large metal crate on a patch of grass in Halcot Avenue last Wednesday (17 January).

She had a severe head injury, which vets deemed to be caused by “blunt force”, and blood coming from her mouth and backend.

It comes just a week before a ban on the dog breed comes into effect.

The RSPCA has launched an investigation amid concerns that the injuries were caused “deliberately”.

Kirsten Ormerod, an inspector at the animal charity, said: “We believe the poor dog was transported to the grassy patch in Halcot Avenue inside the crate sometime between 4.30pm and 6.15pm last Wednesday 17th January 2024.

“It’s incredibly upsetting that her bloodstained body was dumped so carelessly in a residential area.

“It must have been a shocking discovery to make.

“At this stage we have no idea how this poor dog has sustained such a head injury, but I’m deeply concerned that it may have been caused deliberately.”

Ms Ormerod added that the black metal crate the puppy was found in was covered in faeces and urine.

The crate also had a beige sheet thrown over the top of it, with pink twine used to tie it shut.

Vicki Hudson, founder of Missing Paw UK, took the animal to be assessed by a Thamesmead vet.

Vicki said that a local resident had parked their vehicle on Halcot Avenue with no sign of the dog or crate in sight around 4.30pm.

The sad discovery of the dog’s body was made later by another resident walking their own pet at around 6.15pm.

Vicki told the News Shopper: “What is also puzzling me is that they obviously wanted her to be found because they placed her right in the residential area where she would be discovered.

“Initially, when we came across her, she didn't seem to have any visible injuries. It was only when we turned her over that we realized she was covered in blood.

“She has distinct grey Merle patches. Grey Merle is an uncommon colour in certain dog breeds.

“It's not a natural colour like the typical solid colours of breeds such as the Bully XL or the American Bulldog.

“Usually, these breeds are a solid block of colour or white with brown patches.

“She stands out due to the unique grey Merle fur. Someone familiar with that distinct fur pattern might easily recognize her.”

She had no collar or tag on and was not microchipped.

Vicki added that the vets said that the dog seemed to be generally in a healthy state, barring the head trauma.

The XL Bully would have still been small enough to be exempt from ban as she was not yet big enough to meet the defined standards, but more fully-grown adult she would have had to have been registered under the new law.

Vick also highlights the fact that the large crate would not fix in a standard car and so it is possible that a van would have been needed to transport the dog.

Both police and the RSCPA confirmed that they had received the incident information.

The RSPCA is urging anyone with information to come forward urgently.

“We’re appealing to the public for help with this investigation,” Ms Ormerod said.

“If anyone recognises this poor dog then we’d urge them to get in touch.

“We’d also like to hear from anyone who lives in the area and has CCTV or a doorbell camera and can provide us with footage that may assist our enquiries.”

Vicki added: “Currently, this dog appears to be without an owner, lacking a microchip so technically, there is no designated victim.

“However, we are determined to pursue justice for this beautiful dog. It is evident that the dog was not cared for in the correct manner, and there is a clear violation of the Animal Welfare Act.

“It is absolutely unacceptable to inflict unnecessary pain and suffering on an animal.”

Anyone with information should contact the RSPCA appeal line on 0300 123 8018, quoting reference 01210692.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: “A member of the public found the body of an XL Bully dog along Halcot Avenue, Bexleyheath on Thursday, 18 January.

“An initial investigation into the circumstances was carried out and at this time there is no police investigation.

“Should any further information come to light, this will be assessed and investigated accordingly.”