Huggles the dog
Huggles was brutally sexually assaulted several weeks ago, authorities sayIsle of Wight County Sheriff's Office

Authorities in eastern Virginia are asking anyone with information to come forward after a dog named 'Huggles' was sexually assaulted with a broom handle.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have offered a $5,000 (£3,900) reward to anyone who comes forward with information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.

A Virginia dog boarding and day-care facility, the Happy Tails Resort would also add another $1,000 (£773) to the reward while Homeward Trails Animal Rescue added a further $200 (£154), Isle of Wight County Sheriff's Office said.

The Sheriff's Office said in a news release that a family in Windsor, Virginia found Huggles, a beagle-hound mix loose in the area several weeks ago and handed the dog to the Isle of Wight Animal Shelter.

Huggles was screened at the shelter and seen by a vet where she needed "minor medical care" and was later spayed, the Sheriff's Office said. Transferred to a beagle shelter, Huggles' condition continued to decline: "She became lethargic and was experiencing vaginal bleeding." authorities said.

Although they looked to other options, veterinary staff decided that exploratory surgery was needed - it was during that surgery that staff shockingly discovered the plastic handle of a broom had been inserted into Huggles' vagina. Authorities said it was around 3 - 3 ½ inches long.

"This was an intentional attempt to harm this animal." the Isle of Wight Sheriff's Office said.

"Someone knows the person or persons who sexually abused and tortured this dog with a broom handle, leaving her to suffer in pain for weeks." PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch said. The organisation is offering a $5,000 reward and is urging anyone with information to come forward.

Authorities said that Huggles is with the local animal rescue, where she is recovering. The Sheriff's Office is asking anyone with information to contact either The Crime line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP or the Isle of Wight County Sheriff's Office at 1-757-357-2151.