An East Staffordshire salon owner has "fallen in love" with a puppy he rescued after "cowards" hacked off his tail and dumped him in a bin bag by the side of the road.
Chris Withington pulled over to make a phone call on the A50 in Shardlow when he saw something moving inside a black bag left by the roadside.
The 31-year-old was "heartbroken" to find the petrified puppy, whose paws had been tied together and tail hacked off.
But after a trip to the vet, the once terrified terrier cross-bread is now "doing really well" at home in Uttoxeter with Chris and his wife, 25-year-old Jenny.
The couple have welcomed the tiny pooch into their family. He is their second new arrival - Chris found Cosmin, as he has been named, 11 weeks after the birth of their first child, Max.
Chris said: "When you first see that sort of thing, your reaction is to save the animal and make sure it's ok. He was shaking horribly I just wanted to get him some water and get him to a vet.
"I couldn't quite believe what had been done to him. It's heartbreaking when an animal is left in that condition - his tail had been hacked off and he must have suffered so much.
"He's clearly never hurt anyone and is such a good dog. To be honest, I've fallen in love with him and really want to keep him now."
Cosmin had no microchip and Chris now has to wait three weeks for someone to claim him before he is allowed to formally adopt him.
And the former Thomas Alleyne's High School pupil - who admits he prefers dogs to people - says he would now find it hard to hand his new pet over to someone else.
He also had some strong words to say about those who abused and abandoned the dog.
Chris said: "There are just no words for people who do things like this. What I want to say about them isn't appropriate for printing. I'd describe them as cowards.
"What must be going through your head to make an innocent animal suffer like that? It's just brutal and cruel.
"There's always the chance he'd been stolen and then this was done to him, so, of course, I would reluctantly hand him over to his owner in those circumstances.
"But I'm really hoping no-one comes forward. He's good as gold and I think he's had some training somewhere down the line.
"When you make him his tea, he sits and waits for you to give him permission to eat it."
Cosmin, who vets confirmed was less than a year old, was rescued by Chris on Thursday, May 17.
Chris runs Spires hair salon in Market Place, Uttoxeter.