Two hedgehogs burned alive is just the tip of the animal cruelty iceberg in Northamptonshire
RSPCA answered 1,500 calls to rescue county's wildlife during 2019
Sickened RSPCA chiefs have revealed two hedgehogs burned alive in Northamptonshire last month is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to animal cruelty.
The charity took in more of the prickly creatures into their care than any other form of wildlife during 2019.
Out of 1,500 calls to wildlife incidents its rescue teams answered in the county, nearly one third — around two per day — were about hedgehogs.
RSPCA staff had to deal with the shocking incident in Daventry last month when two hedgehogs died after being set alight.
Animal collections officer Rebecca Frost said: “It seems they were deliberately doused in accelerant before they were set on fire in what can only be described as a horrific and callous act.
“The poor animals were left in an awful state and must have been in a lot of pain from the injuries for several hours until they were found."
Animal rights group PETA have offered a £2,000 reward in a bid to find who carried out the horrific act.
Hedgehog Awareness Week kicked off on Sunday (May 3) with pleas to look out for creatures leaving hibernation in search of food as RSPCA rescue teams working through the Covid-19 crisis brace themselves for a surge in calls.
RSPCA scientific officer Evie Button said: “Regardless of coronavirus, wild animals still need rescuing by the RSPCA and breeding season is the start of a really busy time for us.
“We’ll have lots of calls about baby birds, orphaned fox cubs and hedgehogs which have come out of hibernation and need help to build up their body weight.
“It’s Hedgehog Awareness Week which is very appropriate as these much-loved prickly creatures are the most frequent visitor to our wildlife centres.”
More than 2,700 hedgehogs were admitted to RSPCA national wildlife centres last year, mostly because they are orphaned, underweight, injured or exhibiting abnormal behaviour indicative of ill health.
Evie added: “Watching wildlife is such a great source of comfort to people at the moment and we are so grateful to the public for calling us when they are concerned about any animal. However in the case of baby animals, including fledglings, it’s often better to leave them where they are as they are often rescued by their mum or get themselves out of trouble. There’s lots of advice on our website.”
To help the RSPCA keep rescuing animals like these and keep our animal hospitals and centres running for emergency treatment and round the clock care through these unprecedented times, please donate whatever you can spare at www.rspca.org.uk/covid