An extremely poorly dog was found tied to a signpost scared and left for dead.

The lurcher-type breed, named Toby, was discovered by a fosterer for the RSPCA tied with a piece of string.

He appeared to be frozen in fear, very weak and clearly underweight.

Toby, who vets says is only around two or three years of age, was not microchipped when he was found West Hanningfield Road, Chelmsford, Essex.

Clive Vallis, chairman of RSPCA Essex Mid branch, said when found Toby looking famished - he scooped him up and took him straight to the clinic to be examined by a vet.

When Toby went to get examined, the vet found he had an enlarged pancreas which is now causing him a number of health complications.

Clive said: "When I went to collect Toby, he was scared, but seemed grateful to have been rescued.

"He was extremely poorly and when I scooped him up he didn’t resist.

"But we are determined to do all we can to help him, after everything he has been through he truly deserves a second chance".

Clive says he thinks Toby has been used for hare-coursing as his "little body was covered in scratch marks" which indicate him having to run across fields and brambles.

He added: "This breed is one we see used quite frequently with this illegal activity.

"Toby’s road to recovery could be a long one, and we are concerned about his health and illness, but we will do all we can to help him".

The charity are raising funds for his on-going veterinary care.

Clive added: "This poor boy has been so much, and we just want to get him well and find him a loving new home."

RSPCA Inspector Jess Dayes is investigating the incident and said: "It is heartbreaking to hear what has happened to Toby, and we are so grateful to the RSPCA branch for taking him in and providing him with the much needed love and veterinary attention he requires.

"Toby was discovered at the location at around 3pm, so there must be someone who may have seen him being left or who recognises him.

"I would be keen to hear from anyone who may have witnessed this, or may know who was responsible. Any information will be treated in confidence."