IN a cruel and cowardly attack, an intruder has brutally chopped off the entire leg of a defenceless and crippled dog at its home in Rocherlea, Tasmania.
The small silky cross maltese had already lost one of its front legs in an accident six years ago, and lost the other front leg to Saturday's attacker.
Devastated owner Christine Kleiner said she can't imagine how her dog Cheyanne managed to drag herself the 20-metre distance from her back fence to under the house stairs.
Ms Kleiner came home from work on Saturday to make the gruesome discovery. Her dog was euthanised by a vet later Saturday night.
``The vet said it was done with great force with a very sharp object,'' an emotional Ms Kleiner said.
``It went straight through her shoulder.''
Ms Kleiner said she had lived through plenty with Cheyanne in the past 14 years. About six years ago Cheyanne had a front leg amputated after injuring it in latticework.
Ms Kleiner considered her 14-year-old pet a family member. The pair lived with Ms Kleiner's mother and dogs Zoe and Shadow.
The incident has not just left her devastated _ she said she now felt too scared to leave her two animals outside.
``I can't believe someone could do that to an animal,'' Ms Kleiner said.
``I've had her since she was five-weeks-old. She was my little baby; not just an animal to me.''
Living with three legs hadn't affected the friendly dog's life.
``We'd been through a lot of stuff together . . . I could accept it if she had been sick but to come home and find her like that, the whole family is devastated,'' she said.
The incident makes little sense to Ms Kleiner, whose mother was home when the incident happened.
High lattice surrounds the backyard and there seemed to be no sign of entry. Cheyanne's leg has not been found.
``My mother didn't hear a thing,'' Ms Kleiner said.
``I'm not enemies with anybody, I don't argue with anybody, it's just bizarre. I've never had any trouble.
``If they're doing that, what else can they do?''
The police have been contacted and the RSPCA is set to investigate today.