Baby hedgehog's death in Ashington after 'callous' attack by teenagers under investigation by the RSPCA
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A passer-by described seeing four boys around 14 years old kicking the animal on the corner of College Road and Alexandra Road.
She says three had school blazers on while another wore a thick coat, and one carried a bright green backpack.
After the incident, at around 8.15am on Tuesday, September 19, the concerned woman took the hedgehog home, provided straw and water, then called a local wildlife group.
Despite the only obvious external injuries to the hedgehog, estimated to be between eight and 10 weeks old, being a graze on the underside of its tail and a missing toenail, it died at 6pm the same day.
The matter was reported to the RSPCA, which has made local enquiries, sought out CCTV footage, and is asking anyone with information to contact its appeal line on 0300 123 8018 with the reference number 1156141.
RSPCA inspector Helen Nedley said: “It is hard to imagine why anyone would take pleasure in deliberately harming a wild animal in this callous way.
“It is particularly sad and upsetting to hear that those believed to be involved are young people.
“We are very grateful to the kind member of the public who stopped to help and to the local rescue group for doing everything they could to help this little baby.
“Hedgehog populations are in decline and we need to be doing everything we can to care and protect them, which makes the senseless death of this young animal even harder to understand.”