Animal rescue experts say the discovery of a dead dog which had been set on fire is one of the most shocking cases they've encountered.
Residents called police and the RSPCA after a Stafforshire bull terrier was found dead and completely burned on the corner of North Dane Way and Albermarle Road in Lordswood, Chatham, yesterday.
Natasha McPhee director of Animals Lost and Found in Kent, who attended the scene, believed the animal had not been burned alive - but said it was a shocking discovery.
"I think the dog was deceased before," she said. "If you set fire to an animal they don't just sit in one place.
"The dog had it's mouth clamped shut. You can see the dog died in pain but I don't think it was set on fire.
"When we turned up it was apparent it had been burnt. The bushes were all burnt around it. It was just awful."
Miss McPhee identified the dog as a female Staffie, and believed an accelerant had been used when burning the animal. No chip or collar was found.
"It's a bit of a shock," she added. "We deal with horrible things every day but this is horrible.
"Only this morning we were called to a cat that had been kicked around like a football on a basketball court in Gillingham, and another cat that had been thrown over a fence (both survived unscathed).
"This case really shocked me. I stood there for 10 minutes crying before my adrenaline kicked in and I could deal properly with it."
Yvonne Maund of nearby Farley Close also saw the animal after a neighbour alerted her.
"I stood there for 10 minutes crying before my adrenaline kicked in and I could deal properly with it..." - Natasha McPhee, Animals Lost and Found in Kent
"My neighbour came to call for me and said a dog has been set alight, right by the children's playground," she said.
"It was lying upside down. It was horrible - to think people did that, it's terrible. I've no idea why anyone would do that.
"It's only a young dog."
An RSPCA spokesperson said: "The RSPCA was called to the sad discovery of a dog found completely burned near Albemarle Road in Chatham, Kent yesterday (17/07).
"There was no collar and no chip with the dog, which we believe to be a staffy-type. It is thought that the dog sustained it's injuries at the location.
"Clearly this is a very upsetting incident."
Anyone with information can call police on 101 quoting the reference number: 18-0396 or the RSPCA's appeal line on 0300 123 8018.