A deer had to be put down after suffering horrific injuries in a suspected dog attack.

When the animal was discovered in woodland one of its legs was hanging off and it had a huge gash across its stomach.

A passerby called the RSPCA to the scene near Dunley Drive in New Addington but nothing could be done to save the creature.

Croydon Guardian:

The deer suffered horrific injuries in the attack

RSPCA animal welfare officer Zenon Brown said: "This poor animal was in a terrible state and suffering a great deal when I arrived and there really was nothing we could have done to save him.

“He was hidden away in the middle of the woodland and could quite easily have stayed there unnoticed and suffered a really long, lingering and painful death had this member of the public not found him and taken the care to contact us and show me where he was.

"It could have taken him one or two days to actually die.

“It is difficult to know for sure what happened but we suspect it was probably a dog attack.

"The message here is clear, which is that dog owners should keep their pets under control, ideally on a lead, when near wildlife such as deer or livestock.

Croydon Guardian:

The deer had to be put down after being injured in a suspected dog attack

"Legally, dog owners should have charge and control of their animals in a public place.

“We are asking dog owners to act responsibly to ensure tragedies such as this are prevented.

"You may think your dog is well behaved and would never chase or attack wildlife but you do not know how your dog will react if a wild animal was close by.”