AUTHORITIES investigating the mutilation of a dog at Rocherlea have appealed to the public for help.
Christine Kleiner said her silky cross Maltese terrier, Cheyanne, had its remaining front leg chopped off in her yard on Saturday by a stranger.
The 14-year-old beloved pet, already missing a front leg from an accident, managed to drag herself 20 metres to shelter following the attack.
Ms Kleiner found her "little baby" still alive after returning home from work on Saturday.
Later that night Cheyanne was put down by a vet, who said the attack was done with great force and with something very sharp.
The RSPCA said its heart went out to Ms Kleiner, but without concrete evidence a conviction would be difficult.
"Without any witnesses and without any real evidence I don't think there's very much we are going to be able to do," RSPCA state operations manager Lorraine Hamilton said.
"It's distressing for any of us to think what the poor little dog went through.
"If someone out there has done something deliberately and they start bragging about it, we'd really like to hear about it."
She said it was so far unclear if it had been done by a human or another animal.
"If this has been done by a human, then it's an absolutely appalling thing," she said.
Tasmania Police also confirmed it was investigating the incident.
Launceston's Senior Sergeant Craig Fox said police had received some help from the public.
"On the face of it, it seems quite nasty," he said.
Case files for animal cruelty matters are reviewed by the Director of Public Prosecutions' office before prosecutions proceed.
Anyone with information can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or the RSPCA on 6332 8200.