Fox found at animal sanctuary with head and tail cut off
PUBLISHED: 20:59 08 October 2019 | UPDATED: 09:04 09 October 2019
Police are investigating after a fox was found at a Norfolk animal sanctuary with its head and tail removed.
A member of staff at the Hingham-based PACT sanctuary made the gruesome discovery on Friday morning.
The shelter takes in a variety of animals, from cats and dogs to exotic birds and horses, and looks after a number of injured foxes.
If, after recovery, the foxes are later able to be released, the sanctuary, working with Kent-based charity the Fox Project, gives them new homes at farms where they will be safe from shooting.
Police confirmed they are now investigating the incident, while sanctuary founder George Rockingham said they were worried about its remaining four foxes, which are kept in a separate paddock to the rest of the centre.
He said: "The head had been cut off in such a way that it could be used as a stuffed trophy.
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"We are worried for the other four [foxes] but they do have underground lairs and the ground is very overgrown as they like it to be."
A spokesperson for the RSPCA said it was a "shocking" incident for staff and volunteers, but that "incidences of extreme cruelty are very rare", with the culprits more often discovered to be fellow wild animals.
But Mr Rockingham said he felt the precision of the cut around the neck, and lack of bite marks, made it unlikely. He said one of the remaining foxes was blind, while another had three legs, another had been raised as a domestic pet and the other was too tame to be released into the wild.
"This was a despicable act by a nasty person," he said.
He said to access the paddock where the foxes live, someone would have to walked to the sanctuary through the fields and entered via a now-locked gate.
Norfolk police confirmed they were investigating the incident. Anyone with information should contact 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
For more information on PACT and its work, visit pactsanctuary.org