Concerned . . . Furever Homes manager Loanna Mesman, of Edendale, looks after dogs that are victims of abuse and says they can take years to rehabilitate. PHOTO: MICHAEL CURREEN

An animal rescue group is disappointed a woman still has her dog after she was seen beating it in Gore’s town centre.

Several people witnessed her physically abusing the dog in Main St on the morning of October 31.

Among them was Cindy Anderson, who was outside on her lunch break at the time.

‘‘I was in tears,’’ she said.

‘‘She was sinking the boot into that dog. That dog was yelping that loud, it was like a pig squealing. I think she was punching it in the head. She tried to choke the dog. It was horrible.’’

Ms Anderson alerted her colleague Susan MacDonald and rang the police.

Ms MacDonald said by the time she got there, the dog was not moving and the owner was in a volatile state as people were trying to take the dog off her.

‘‘She started screaming at us. . .she picked [the dog] up and took off running. She went just down the road from us so we could keep an eye on her while we called the police. They finally came but couldn’t do anything.’’

This was despite someone having video footage of the incident, Ms MacDonald said.

‘‘So I rang animal control and they said ‘Sorry, nothing we can do about it either’.’’

A Gore District Council spokesperson said the animal management team did respond to the incident, but were advised by police that they were handling it.

A police spokesman confirmed that a report of the incident was received and police attended to assist the SPCA, which had also been called.

‘‘At this stage the matter sits with [the SPCA]. As per the Animal Welfare Act, these offences are not usually in the first instance a police matter.

‘‘However, police can become involved on a case by case basis.’’

SPCA inspectorate team lead Jamie Hancock said its investigation was ongoing but the dog had been taken for veterinary examination by SPCA inspectors.

However, Stacey Smith, a family member of the dog’s owner, told The Ensign the dog had since been returned.

‘‘I’m absolutely disgusted that [the SPCA] have returned the dog when you’ve got witnesses and video.

‘‘What do you want, a dead dog?’’

Ms Smith was concerned not only for the dog’s physical health but also its mental health.

The dog had been abused before and it had been reported to the SPCA, but nothing had been done, she said.

‘‘It’s just heartbreaking. I feel that [the dog has] been let down by them.’’

Furever Homes manager Loanna Mesman, of Edendale, said it was a classic example of the sort of dog that ended up in the animal rescue group’s care.

‘‘We have a lot of dogs come through our door that have been mistreated.’’

In rare cases, a dog was ‘‘so broken at the hands of humans, that they’ve sadly had to be euthanised’’.

‘‘The mental wellbeing of any animal is as important as a good diet and a safe loving home. Obviously that’s not a safe loving home,’’ she said.

‘‘She shouldn’t have the dog. It’s just going to happen again.

‘‘Really it comes back to the police and the SPCA. One of them, or both of them, should’ve acted in a firmer manner.’’