A manhunt is under way to catch three thugs seen throwing a cat to its death at the mouths of two raging dogs.
Horrified witnesses said they saw the cat being savaged by the two Staffordshire bull terriers in Layton Cemetery.
Police are investigating the incident amid claims the cat was deliberately thrown to the dogs to be mauled to death.
Katie James, 35, who found the cat, said: “It was terrified and crying with pain.
“They need finding because it will only happen again.”
The mum-of-two had been approached by a dog walker who said he had seen three men pick up the cat and throw it to the dogs.
Katie said: “I heard a commotion in the graveyard – my dog heard it too.
“A guy knocked on my door. He said three lads had been walking in the cemetery with Staffordshire bull terriers.
“They have grabbed the cat and thrown it into the air and it was attacked by the dogs.
“The lads kicked the dog in the head to release the cat but by then it was too late.”
Katie, who owns her own beauty salon, grabbed a blanket and headed for the cemetery on Talbot Road in the hope of saving the black-and-white cat, but quickly realised its injuries were too severe.
She said: “It was terrified and crying with pain.
“I was going to wrap it in the blanket and rush him to the vets, but there was clearly nothing we could do.
“All I could do was stroke it until it died.
“I was so angry I jumped in my car and drove around trying to find them to get a picture.
“It’s not the dog’s fault – it’s been trained to kill.
“It’s the owner that needs putting down, not the dog.
“They need finding because it will only happen again. It’s not going to be a one-off thing. Next time it could be a child.”
The cat was taken to Alpha Veterinary Centre, where it was scanned, however, no microchip could be found. Its owner is yet to be identified.
The alleged incident sparked outrage on social media, with Katie’s post about the cat being shared more than 300 times on Facebook.
Louise Barratt said: “These scumbags need to be caught and those poor dogs taking off them.
“That poor cat must have been terrified. I’m so angry.”
Philip Hutchinson said: “This news is so disgusting. In fact, heartbreaking. Are these scum on the streets? If so let’s all help.”
Commenters also praised Katie for comforting the animal in its last moments.
She said: “If anybody in the area has CCTV then it won’t be difficult to spot three men and two Staffordshire bull terriers.
“We need to get CCTV footage or we might never find them.”
A police spokesman said: “We were called at 11.50pm by someone who had been told that a cat had been attacked by two dogs at Layton Cemetery on Talbot Road.
“The neighbourhood team has been made aware and will be looking into it.”