A ROMANIAN dog, dubbed ‘the ugliest in the world’, has found a new home in Darwen.
Ralph was born on the streets of the Romanian capital, Bucharest, and grew up foraging for scraps of food, or catching rats to eat.
He came to the attention of UK-based charity K-9 Angels after he had been disfigured in a sulphuric acid attack, in which he lost an ear, half an eye, and some of his fur.
An estimated 500,000 dogs live on Romanian streets, and they are often caught and killed.
Some strays are subjected to very brutal treatment, and are poisoned, set on fire, or beaten to death.
K-9 Angels provides a link between dog rescuers in foreign countries and prospective adopters in the UK, and the charity put a picture of Ralph on its website, where he was spotted by Ursula Dalton from Darwen.
Ursula, who already has two rescue dogs, Ella from Greece, and Ted from Manchester, contacted the charity and offered to adopt Ralph.
K-9 Angels flew Ralph to London, where Ursula picked him up and brought him to live with her, her husband John, and their six-year-old son Jack at Moorview Equestrian Centre, in Blacksnape.
Since arriving in the UK Ralph has had surgery to remove his damaged eye, and he has adapted well to life in Darwen.
Ursula said: “I was following the K-9 Angels website and I noticed all the cute, cuddly ones were being selected, but he was being overlooked, so I decided I would have him.
“He lived on a diet of mainly rats and rubbish, but here he’s living on Pedigree Chum, and his life is totally different.
“He’s a really happy dog and has a friendly temperament.”
Ursula said customers at her riding school had taken well to Ralph.
She added: “At first they’re a bit shocked to see him because he looks so unusual, but then they see he’s so friendly that they like him.
“You don’t see many dogs with one eye and one ear, but he’s so friendly.”