A Blackwood man has been jailed for torturing and mutilating a defenceless hedgehog.
Richard Coyle, 54, of no fixed abode, had denied two animal cruelty charges at Newport Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, November 3, but was found guilty.
The court was told how Coyle had cut the hedgehog’s legs off, burned the animal and covered its head and eyes with hot candle wax. The cruelty happened on August 27 last year.
Police seized a pair of black handled scissors, candles and a jump lead, and a kitchen knife from a tent – which belonged to Coyle – near Highfield Way in Blackwood.
A district judge found him guilty for offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996 by trial and jailed him for six months.
He was also banned from keeping animals for ten years and ordered him to pay a victim surcharge of £122.
A victim surcharge imposed by the courts goes to fund victim services.
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Following the case, RSPCA Inspector Simon Evans said: “When police attended the location they stated there was an overpowering stench of burning flesh/hair that came from the tent.
“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.
“The head – including his eyes and around the muzzle – was covered with candle wax. The spines around the top of the head and sides appeared to be burned/singed too.”
Inspector Evans, who conducted the investigation into this incident, added: “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.
“This case is certainly one of the worst examples of animal cruelty I’ve ever seen.”