30/03/2004

Firefighters 'taken aback' by beheaded pet rabbits

Firefighters in Co Antrim have expressed their disgust after finding the remains of two beheaded pet rabbits when they were called to deal with a burning car.

The rabbits were stolen from hutches at a house in Portrush on Tuesday morning.

Fire crews were initially called to the house after a fire was reported at the back of the home. When they arrived, two of the rabbits were found with their heads cut off inside a car - a third had been burned alive.

A spokesman for the fire brigade said the crew were "taken aback" by what they saw.

"In our job you often feel you have seen the worst of people at times, but this really takes us to the fair - having seen what people are prepared to do to something that is very dear to a local child," he added.

East Londonderry Ulster Unionist MLA David McClarty described those responsible for the attack as “sick and depraved.”

“More and more we are learning of incidents of cruelty to animals and I would urge anyone who may have noticed any suspicious activity in the Glenariff Road in the resort in the early hours of Tuesday morning to assist the police in their investigation," Mr McClarty said.

“This was a cruel, barbaric act which has left a child devastated at losing is pets. Who could be so cruel? It was the work of sick and depraved people who must have no conscience whatsoever.”

It is understood that the family had recently moved into the area.

(MB)

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