Horror as hedgehogs kicked to death

THE owner of a wildlife sanctuary has spoken of her horror after two hedgehogs - one just two months old - were kicked to death in a north Essex town.

Roddy Ashworth

THE owner of a wildlife sanctuary has spoken of her horror after two hedgehogs - one just two months old - were kicked to death in a north Essex town.

Rosie Catford, who runs Wildlives in Thorrington, said there was “no doubting” that the creatures had been cruelly and deliberately killed and that the lack of bite marks on the dead creatures' bodies meant that people rather than animals must have been responsible.

The hedgehogs were found on a path in the St Johns' area of Colchester, near a piece of open land at St Monance Way.


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She added: “From what we have been told, young people gather there, get drunk and then it's 'kick a hedgehog' time.

“One woman nearby reported some youths actually setting fire to a hedgehog.

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“These animals are now classed as endangered and this sort of behaviour is just sickening.”

The two dead creatures were brought in to the sanctuary separately over the course of a few days by a volunteer, Ms Catford said.

“She was suspicious as to what had happened to them.

“There are no bite wounds and the injuries are not consistent with having been hit by a car - the heads have been smashed in and there is bruising all over the bodies. They were also found too far from the nearest road.

“This is just mindless cruelty. The juvenile hedgehog was only about eight weeks old.”

Ms Catford said she had contacted the RSPCA about the matter and informed the police.

Yesterday, PC Andy Long, Essex Police's wildlife co-ordinator, said they took reports of animal abuse seriously and warned anyone that the consequences of such cruelty were grave.

“Hedgehogs are protected under the Wild Mammal Protection act of 1996,” he said.

“This means it is an offence to mutilate, kick, beat, nail, impale, stab, burn, stone, crush, drown, drop, drag or asphyxiate a wild mammal with intent to cause unnecessary suffering.

“Anyone prosecuted for this could be jailed for up to six months or face a heavy fine.

“If anybody has any information about those responsible they are asked to contact local police officers immediately.”

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