Warning: This article contains images of a distressed and injured animal
A couple from Dortmund, Germany, were shocked to find a turtle lying on its back in a garden with a large ring attached to a seven metre long cable wire pierced through its shell.
The male water turtle had tangled itself in blackberry bushes, attempting to find somewhere cool with no water source nearby.
On Saturday 26 August, 50-year-old Arne Stenzel and 48-year-old Ute Nack were shocked at the sight of the trapped yellow-bellied slider, lying on its back while its owners had gone on holiday for three weeks.
Arne told German news outlet Bild:
I was shocked.
You cannot attach a dog to a wire and just drive away.
The couple called the fire brigade and were referred to animal rescue organisation Arche 90, who arrived at the scene promptly and, alongside the city's veterinary office, freed the creature. The turtle was put it in the care of a local animal shelter.
Deputy head of the local animal shelter Max Schaurte said:
The animal must have felt agonising pain because the shell is by no means just a shell, but similar to human skin.
The owners will reportedly face animal cruelty charges when they return from holiday.