The RSPCA has launched an investigation after three dogs were set on a cat in Middlesbrough.

The animal welfare charity was contacted by locals who saw three terriers attack the cat, goaded on by their owners.

Neighbours called the charity on 20 August after the incident between Grassington Road and Rylstone Court.

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RSPCA Inspector Gemma Lynch, who is now investigating, said: “Two witnesses told us that they heard young men laughing and one said: ‘They’ve got it.’

“When they came outside to see what was going on they saw two white terriers and one black terrier dragging a tabby cat across the road.

“They managed to pull the dogs off who ran off towards the men who fled the scene.”

The cat – a male called Tigger – was taken to a local vets for emergency treatment.

“Tigger was very lucky. He ended up suffering puncture wounds and a broken tooth in the attack and is now back home with his owner,” Inspector Lynch added.

“This could have been much worse and Tigger could have easily been killed.

“It’s disgraceful – and illegal – to encourage dogs to attack any animal. Poor Tigger could have suffered serious injuries and must have been terrified as the dogs savaged him.”

Anyone with any information which could help the RSPCA investigation is urged to contact the charity’s appeal line by calling 0300 123 8018.