Woman "kicked hedgehog like a football"
Animal welfare officers are looking to trace a woman seen kicking a hedgehog around like "a football".
The woman was seen shouting at and attacking the animal in Peterborough at about 2.30pm on Tuesday.
Appealing for information about the incident in the Bretton area of the city, RSPCA inspector Justin Stubbs said the creature was so badly hurt he had to be put down.
Mr Stubbs added: "She was seen screaming 'stupid hedgehog' and kicking the little animal around continuously, as if he were a football.
"Luckily she was seen by a passer-by who called us.
"When I arrived I found the hedgehog still alive, but lying on his side, twitching, clearly in great agony.
"I took him to a vet where he was given treatment but sadly his injuries were found to be so severe that he was put to sleep the next day to prevent further suffering.
"There is no excuse for such a senseless attack, and I can't imagine what could have motivated it.
"I have known cases like this with young children who don't know any better, but for a grown woman to attack an animal like this is just baffling."
Witnesses should contact the RSPCA on 0300 123 8018.