A young terrier pup was left with horrific facial injuries after being forced to fight against a badger by his "cruel" owners.
The two-year-old brown patterdale terrier suffered several puncture wounds to the right side of its face after being pushed down a badger sett in Derbyshire by two men.
Harrowing images show the dog covered in cuts and scars after he was subjected to what Derbyshire Police branded a "cruel and barbaric" act.
The force said his owners topped off their vicious animal cruelty act by leaving the pup behind despite his brutal injuries.
The pair were earlier seen digging at an active badger sett in an open field in Chinley by the landowner who challenged them twice.
Police were then called before the men left in a Silver/Grey large 4×4 Crew cab Type vehicle with a grey rear load bed canopy on Sunday, September 15.
The pup was rushed to vets by police officers for treatment to the right side of its face.
Shocking photos show the wounds to his skin around the dog's eye which police said were "clearly" caused from it being forced down a badger sett to fight.
The dog is now recuperating from his injuries in police kennels after vets cleaned out his wounds before administering antibiotics and pain medication.
Badger-baiting is an illegal blood sport that sees a badger drawn out of its sett and threatened, prompting a reaction.
Dogs and badgers are then pitted against each other, often resulting in the death of the badger and serious injury to the dog.
It was outlawed in the UK in 1835 under the Cruelty to Animals Act.
A spokesman for Derbyshire Police said: "We are investigating a badger baiting incident that happened in Chinley, Derbyshire, on the morning of Sunday, September 15.
"Two males were seen to be digging at an active badger sett in an open field. When challenged they made off.
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