Local residents reported seeing a group of teenagers encouraging their dog to attack the male Muscovy duck at around 2pm Thursday, June 4 at Tilesheds pond in East Boldon.
RSPCA officers were called and managed to recover the injured duck after several hours.
It was taken to the vet, but sadly its injuries were so severe it had to be put down.
The duck is well-known to locals who use the reserve on a regular basis, as one of a pair of Muscovy ducks who had made the pond their home for a number of years.
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One East Boldon resident, who didn’t want to be named, said: “I think everyone that has visited Tileshed Nature Reserve will be very saddened by the loss of this duck, he has been there for many years with his mate and the thought of them being separated by this tragedy is heartbreaking.
“He was so friendly and trusting of humans children loved to feed him, such a character he brought so much joy to the area and will be missed by many.”
The RSPCA’s Jaqui Miller commented: “This terrible incident could have been avoided and we ask that dog owners be aware that there may be wildlife or other animals present in the area when walking their dog and to keep their dog under control at all times.”
The RSPCA inspector said she was concerned to hear reports the dog may have been intentionally set on the duck, who has a partner nesting on the water, and encouraged anyone with information that could help an investigation to contact her on 0300 123 8018.
The police are also carrying out inquiries into the incident.
A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: "We can confirm we received a report that a group of teenagers had allegedly set a dog on some ducks at Tileshed Pond in East Boldon. We understand that this has caused significant concern in the community and we will be carrying out enquiries to establish if any criminal offences have been committed."