Who hit this pup? Bashed dog found wandering in bushland

It is hoped the distinctive markings on a puppy fighting for its life after another suspected act of animal cruelty will help authorities identify and locate its owner.

The emaciated animal was found wandering around in bushland near Cessnock on Monday with a fractured skull, the Newcastle Herald reports.

The Staffordshire terrier-cross puppy is in a critical condition.

The disturbing discovery comes only six weeks after nine of an 11-puppy litter of bull-terrier cross dogs were bashed to death by the side of the road at nearby Kurri Kurri.

RSPCA Northern Region team leader Scott Meyers said X-rays showed a number of injuries that suggest the dog, a male cross-bred Staffordshire terrier about 12 months old, was deliberately bashed in the head and dumped.

"The dog is emaciated, and I mean emaciated, and it has this really nasty injury to its skull, we are not sure if it will survive," Inspector Meyers said.

The RSPCA was contacted at 8pm on Sunday after a member of the public saw the pup walking along the road on Gibsons Loop, which is in Werkata National Park, about 10km outside Cessnock.

"They tried to call him over to the car but they realised he needed more help," RSPCA spokeswoman Jessica Conway said.

Efforts to find the dog failed due to the weather  but the search resumed on Monday and  the dog was found and  taken to the Rutherford hospital for urgent veterinary assistance.

"Trying to find a dog in scrub at night was pretty difficult," Mr Meyers said.

"We went back this morning and found him about 50 metres down in the bush. He has no chip. I don't think it has walked there, I believe it has been dumped there. The vet thinks the injury has been sustained in the last 24 hours. We don't think it has been out in the bushland for very long.

"At the moment we are just pleading for information. If someone has seen it or knows of the dog ... it's a very distinctive looking dog, a white dog with two black patches on its eyes. It's the kind of dog that you would have noticed. Hopefully someone will come forward with something."

The RSPCA appealed for public information in March after a member of the public came across the "massacre" of  bull-terrier cross pups in bushland at Kurri Kurri.

The brutal deaths triggered an outpouring of emotion on social media, with police later charging Kurri Kurri man Nathan Thompson, 25, with a number of animal cruelty offences.

He has since been banned from having anything to do with animals for life after pleading guilty to 13 charges. 

He will know his fate on May 4 when he returns to Newcastle Local Court for sentencing.

Please phone the animal cruelty line on 1300 278 3589 with any relevant information about the Staffordshire pup.

See the article on the Sydney Morning Herald website here.