Traumatised and just minutes from death, a disabled stray was rescued after allegedly being buried alive by school caretakers.
Police think the unwanted pet had annoyed the men by barking and they callously vowed to bury him alive in the school playing field as punishment.
Horrified witnesses spotted the disabled stray, now named Warrior after his ordeal, yelping for mercy as he was buried in the Cape Town township of Khayelitsh.
No mercy: Warrior, as he has now been named by rescue workers, was found buried five feet under the ground, covered in dirt
They called animal welfare officers who managed to get the school before Warrior suffocated in his makeshift grave.
Two men, who are caretakers at the Luhlaza Secondary School, were arrested by police who confirmed they had been charged with animal cruelty.
Rescuers said the desperate animal was close to death when officials arrived later to dig it out.
Shocking pictures of the rescue show it gasping for air as it was pulled out from the sand.
Stray: Police said the caretakers buried the unwanted pet after his barking got in their nerves
Haunted: Warrior, just after being rescued, is making a slow and steady recovery
Animal welfare boss Christina Pretorius said the dog was saved by a local vet and his assistant who received an anonymous tip off about its live burial at 8.30am yesterday.
She said: 'They rushed to the school and apprehended two caretakers on the school field. The men initially claimed the dog was dead, but on further questioning admitted the animal was still alive when they buried it.
'They said one of the school's senior supervisors had told them to get rid of the dog as it was being a nuisance by hanging around the classrooms.' The dog was discovered at the bottom of a pit which had been dug five foot deep.
It was rescued by officials and taken to a local veterinarian practice for an examination.
Experts said the animal was disabled, although it is believed that it could have been injured during a previous road traffic accident.
Lucky: Rescue workers had to dig for five feet below ground in cape Town to find the stray dog, luckily the stray was still alive when he was found
Police spokesman Frederick van Wyk today confirmed two 59-year-old men had been arrested and would be charged.
He said: 'The two men were arrested on Thursday afternoon and they remain in custody. They will be charged with animal cruelty under the Animal Act.'
Officials said they believed the suspects buried the dog on the orders of a senior caretaker who had become tired of it hanging around the state-run school.
Cape Town's provincial government last night launched an investigation into the incident.
Department of education spokeswoman Bronagh Casey said: 'We are horrified by this incident and our district office is investigating.'
Warrior was today receiving medical assistance at Khayelitsha's Mdzananda Animal Clinic, which is backed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
Centre manager Jane Levinson said: 'This story is tragic and, as awful as this story is, without access to animal welfare these are the kinds of desperate measures people resort to when they have nowhere to turn for help.
'None of this excuses the decision of a senior, and presumably educated and intelligent supervisor, to instruct his juniors to dispose of a problem dog in such a cruel fashion.'