WARNING – DISTRESSING CONTENT: A man has been jailed for inflicting “horrific” injuries on a hedgehog he burned and mutilated.
Richard Coyle, 54, cut the legs off a hedgehog, burnt and singed the animal and covered its head and eyes with molten candle wax, Newport Magistrates’ Court in Wales heard on Tuesday.
Coyle pleaded not guilty to two charges, according to RSPCA Cymru.
Police seized a pair of black-handled scissors, candles, a jump lead and a kitchen knife from a tent – which belonged to Coyle – at the incident location.
Coyle was sentenced to 26 weeks’ jail and disqualified from owning an animal for 10 years.
RSPCA inspector Simon Evans said inspectors first thought the hedgehog was dead on finding it.
“When police attended the location they stated there was an overpowering stench of burning flesh/hair that came from the tent,” he said.
“They first thought the hedgehog – which was found in the tent with horrific injuries – was dead, but upon closer inspection the hedgehog was alive and was taken to a vet but was promptly put to sleep on welfare grounds to end his suffering.
“At the vets it was noted that the hedgehog had both hind legs severed completely and the front left leg was missing. The front right leg was also barely attached.”
He added the hedgehog’s spines appeared to be singed and the animal’s eyes and muzzle were covered in wax.
“It is just beyond belief that someone could do this to a defenceless creature and cause so much suffering. To think that this hedgehog was alive through this ordeal is just horrifying,” he said.
“This case is certainly one of the worst examples of animal cruelty I’ve ever seen.”
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.