A scared and cold dog has been shot dead by police after it was discovered tied to a pole in freezing cold conditions.

The dog was found on uncomfortable ground in Hartlepool on Sunday morning (21 January) and the Cleveland Police were called. They tried for a day to find the owner but were ultimately forced to "destroy" it.

A post was shared on the Dog Theft Awareness North East UK's Facebook page describing the animal as "a big, fluffy Alsation-type dog."

Some people replied to the post saying the local council had been to the scene. Another person commented saying the dog was "terrified but food motivated. Anyone going to try and help needs to be experienced and confident with big dogs."

Despite the efforts, the dog was put down on Monday (22 January). "The decision to destroy the dog has not been taken lightly," a Cleveland Police spokesperson said according to Gazette Live. "This was the very last course of action that we wanted to take."

"All attempts to calm the dog failed. Vets advised that they were unable to sedate the dog due to not being able to approach it and not having equipment to sedate from a distance. Unfortunately veterinary professionals advised that the dog could not be re-homed due to its aggressive behaviour."

The commemorative post on the Facebook page has been shared more than 100 times. "If this isn't animal cruelty, I don't know what is," one person wrote. "The owners are to blame for this poor dog's state of mind, hope he is at peace now," another person wrote.

Many people questioned the decision to put the dog down, bemoaning the vets' lack of resources. "The way it was 'put down' was inhumane. Even prisoners on death row get lethal injections," a Facebook user wrote. "Vet was there didn't have equipment to sedate from a distance so killed poor dog absolute f*****g disgrace," someone else wrote.