A DOG that was violently abused by illegal badger baiters was able to have a life-saving operation thanks to donations from South Lakes residents.

Winnie was brought to the RSPCA Westmorland after being found with severe injuries consistent with being used for badger baiting.

The RSPCA launched an appeal in a bid to try and raise enough money so that the border terrier could get the treatment she desperately needed.

When she was found Winnie had significant lower jaw injuries, where the skin had been been ripped away, and there were multiple bite wounds to the front half of her body.

After a successful operation, done by Oakhill Veterinary Centre in Windermere, the dog has been given another shot at life.

Christine Lowe, branch manager at RSPCA Westmorland, said that due to the complexity of the surgery a second operation may be needed in the new year.

She said: "As the skin has started to heal it has contracted back so the coverage has not been the full 100 per cent. But the operation has improved the coverage by about 60 per cent and importantly it has incorporated some elements of her lip, which was one of the important things for her future.

"At the moment she needs daily care to keep the wound as clean as possible during her recovery."

Mrs Lowe also added that the response from the appeal has been 'fantastic,' and she wishes to say thank you to everyone who has donated.

She said: "Winnie is still as vigorous with her love of life and has been amazing with her robust and care free approach to all the treatments, handling and cleaning she has to go through.

"She is a little star winning the hearts of all who have contributed to her improvement. Thank you to the team at Oakhill for the progress that has been made and a big thank you to all our supporters who have made this possible for this little dog."