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A hedgehog has been killed after a heartless group of thugs tied the animal to a firework, before then setting it off.
This horrendous act of cruelty took place in Lancashire on Friday evening and left the hedgehog with such severe injuries that it had to be put down.
In a Facebook post, the police force appealed for anyone with any information about the incident to come forward.
They wrote: "We have been made aware of an incident in the Longton area in which a firework has been attached to the head of a hedgehog and set off.
"It comes with great sadness to say that the hedgehog has had to be put down due to the extent of its injuries.
"We request that anyone who may have any information regarding this incident come forward."
South Ribble Police confirmed the incident had taken place in the village of Longton, which is four miles south of Preston.
The firework was strapped to the head of the defenceless animal before it was then lit.
Officers have asked that anyone with any information whatsoever regarding the incident get in touch via their non-emergency 101 number quoting the reference 1702, or reporting it anonymously on Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.
Naturally, people have been outraged to learn about the incident.
Underneath the original Facebook post, one person wrote: "Lots of passionate posts on here - I'm off to make a donation to Preston Hedgehog Rescue - it would be fantastic if people are feeling so strongly for the poor little hog that they want to help all the other hogs in the fantastic care of Preston Hedgehog Rescue.
"We can't save that poor little hog, but we can try and help to save all the others."
Another said: "This is sickening! An act of a very disturbed mind, not normal behaviour. To inflict such pain on a living animal. Someone knows who did this, do the right thing and name the culprit now!"
Since the news broke, Preston Hedgehog Rescue has said it has been snowed under with people asking to foster the hedgehogs that the organisation cares for.
This news comes as more and more people call for fireworks to be banned because of their effect on animals around this time of year.
Recently, a puppy died after it became incredibly agitated and frightened by fireworks. Molly, an 18-week-old terrier died of fright in South Yorkshire last week.
Her owner, Susan Paterson, wrote on Facebook: "Due to the enormous amount of fireworks with loud bangs going off around Wombwell and lower Darfield last night, we lost a young terrier with a heart attack.
"Please think of the animals. Molly was only 18 weeks old and died of FRIGHT caused by fireworks.
"Molly may be gone but she will never be forgotten and will live on in our hearts. We are still trying to make sense of what happened. Dreading the fireworks again tonight."
She also encouraged people to sign a petition calling for a ban on the sale of fireworks.
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