A PET rabbit was dumped in a box on top of a bin and left to freeze to death by its owner says the RSPCA.

Wirral RSPCA inspector Anthony Joynes was called to Mersey Park in Tranmere on Sunday where passersby had discovered the animal in a cardboard box.

The rabbit, which was “emaciated” and in a “poor condition,” failed to survive the cold weather and had been suffering from illness.

Now Insp Joynes is calling on local residents to come forward with any information they may have.

He said: “The box had holes that had been punched through the box and the edge appeared to have been nibbled away.

“At this stage it looks like someone has dumped this rabbit in a weak and emaciated state and it has succumbed to the cold weather on Saturday night or Sunday morning.

“This has been a cruel act as this rabbit was clearly suffering from malnutrition or illness and would have needed urgent veterinary treatment.

Inspector Joynes added: “In my opinion rabbits are the most neglected pet in the UK. Rabbits have a complex set of needs and to make good pets need time spent on them every day from a very early age.

“The person responsible for this cruel act if caught could be sent to prison for six months and given a fine of up to £20,000.”

Anyone with information can call the RSPCA on 0300 123 4999 and leave a message for Inspector Joynes.