THIS is the shocking moment a beloved seal was savagely mauled by a dog after entertaining walkers in London for weeks.
The seal, named by locals after Queen singer Freddie Mercury, may have to be put down after he was attacked by a brown cross-breed on Sunday.
Pictures show the dog latched on to one of the seal’s flippers as walkers and cyclists, including a vet, rushed to his aid near Hammersmith Bridge in Barnes.
Onlookers stayed with Freddie until emergency services arrived, but now South Essex Wildlife Hospital say he may have to be put out of his misery.
They said: “Ourselves and the experts at British divers marine life rescue have consulted several specialist marine and orthopedic vets and as we strongly suspected having taken X-rays this morning the prognosis is extremely poor.
“Freddie's flipper is fractured and the joint dislocated. Seals do not take anaesthetic well as they have a dive reflex and don't breathe.
“We suspect the infection is spreading and with the other bite wounds to his body he is very miserable.
“At this stage we believe the only ethical and fair option we have is to end his suffering.”
A photographer who was snapping pictures of Freddie when the attack happened said it was “vicious.”
Duncan Phillips, 55, told MyLondon: “The dog just wouldn't let go. It wouldn't let go despite repeated attempts by members of the public to separate the animals.”
The British Divers Marine Life Rescue said: "At around 12.45pm on Sunday March 21, a young resident common seal, in the Hammersmith area of the River Thames, was attacked by a dog leaving it with severe wounds and needing urgent vet treatment.
“The out of control dog was recalled by the owner who then left the scene, but thankfully a quick thinking passer who saw the attack was able to catch the seal and hold onto it so help could be found.
“Our rescue hotline coordinator called out local Thames BDMLR medics and with the assistance of a local vet, we were able to source a cage and contain the seal safely.”
The vet who came to the seal aid was bitten three times by terrified Freddie while trying to him, according to The Daily Mail.
Meanwhile a male cyclist was “headbutted” by the seal as he tried to hold him still.
Now animal lovers on social media have slammed the dog’s owner after the brutal attack.
One wrote: “I hope this owner is dragged into court. Sick to death of seeing these horrendous attacks.
“Stop making excuses for these dogs and irresponsible owners. Thankful for those who helped.
Another added: “The owner needs to be brought before the courts and fined. Then made to pay for Freddie's veterinary bills and rehabilitation.”
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