A DISTRAUGHT dog owner has hit out at fly-tippers after her beloved pet died when its throat was slit open by broken glass.

Bella the greyhound had been given a new life after being found starving in the street and rescued by Ann-Marie Braithwaite's family.

And she had been shortlisted in the RSPCA Rescue Dog of the Year competition after being nominated by her owner.

But she died when glass from a rubbish which had been dumped behind the Leeds and Liverpool canal near Highfield Road, Infirmary, Blackburn, cut her throat open.

Ann-Marie, of York Street, Blackburn, said the fly-tippers had killed her pet and said a child could be seriously injured if the problem was not dealt with.

Blackburn with Darwen Council is investigating and has vowed to take action against the culprits.

And the RSPCA said that the case highlighted how litter could be lethal to pets.

Ann-Marie had taken Bella for a regular evening walk with her five-year-old son Gregory Bilardi and their other dog Woody, a black greyhound.

She let the pair off their leads and they ran through a gap in the hedge but then Ann-Marie heard Bella screaming.

She said: "She had a cut on her neck that was an eighth of an inch from her jugular.

"My little boy was traumatised when he saw her.

"She was bleeding but I managed to get Bella home and my neighbour took us to the vet in Clitheroe. There was blood everywhere.

"Bella looked as though she was getting better but she had lost too much blood. This has broken my heart.

"There was glass, an old TV set and other rubbish there.There is a problem with fly tipping in the area. It killed my pet and it could be a child next time."

The three-year-old dog was the only dog in Lancashire to be nominated for the RSPCA competition for rescued dogs.

Ann-Marie said: "My husband Domenico Bilardi, 41, died two years ago as a result faulty gene in the heart.

"I was on my own and getting depressed and sitting in..

"I decided to go to Altham Animal Centre where they have rescued dogs. When I saw her I fell in love with her.

"She was gorgeous, but was in a horrendous state when we took her home. She had been left on the street to starve and now this has happened."

Coun Salim Lorgat, executive member for neighbourhoods at Blackburn with Darwen Council said: "There are two incidents of fly-tipping in the area under investigation.

"We take fly-tipping very seriously and will take action against anyone who is committing any offence. The land has now been cleaned up."

An RSPCA spokesperson said: "This is absolutely tragic.

"Things were just coming right for Bella.

"She'd found what was clearly such a loving home with Ann-Marie and her family, who are devastated by losing her.

"Litter can be lethal and this demonstrates that."

Report fly-tippers on 01254 585921.