A DEAD dog found decomposing near a primary school had “a long list of drugs” including heroin in its bloodstream, according to campaigners.

The seven-year-old cross breed was found on a footpath behind Bell Lane Park in Lewes, which is regularly used by children from Southover Primary School.

The grim discovery prompted a campaign called Justice For Benson which is attempting to uncover the circumstances surrounding the dog’s death.

The Argus:

Benson was found last month in Lewes woodland

It crowdfunded to raise money for an autopsy which reportedly revealed significant traces of heroin along with the “a long list of drugs” in the dog’s bloodstream.

The woman behind the campaign, Melonie Beck, found the bull mastiff-cross in “an advanced state of decomposition”.

Ms Beck, who works for animal charity Save our Spaniels, said: “We have rehomed dogs that have had acid poured over them but nothing has shaken me up more than this.

“It was laid out in the nettles, with its harness and lead still attached.

“I’ve seen a lot of dead animals who have suffered abuse but when I was standing there I knew something was very, very, wrong.”

After Ms Beck posted the incident to Facebook, hundreds of “outraged” dog lovers formed the Justice for Benson group, which has now raised more than £1,000 in a bid to find out exactly what happened.

The dog had been microchipped and the owner was tracked after it was scanned.

But that owner, who originally named the dog Benson, gave away the dog up three years ago.

The campaigners commissioned a report from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in London which revealed a long list of drugs, including heroin, in the dog’s system, according to campaigners.

The Argus:

Benson was seven-years-old when he died

An RSPCA spokeswoman said: “This sounds like an extremely distressing incident and we would like to reassure people we are taking this seriously and have an ongoing, active investigation.

“We cannot always discuss this in the public domain as it may prejudice any future action taken, which we appreciate is frustrating for people.

“We would like to thank everyone who has come forward so far and we continue to urge anyone with information about this dog or who saw anything suspicious in the area to contact the RSPCA on 0300 123 4999.”