British police are searching for a group of men who have repeatedly tortured foxes – including setting them on fire in East London.
An animal rescue group called the police late last month about a fox being set on fire in a wooded area near Kestrel Avenue and Linton Gardens.
A resident had reported waking up around 1 a.m. by the sounds of what they thought was someone screaming. Upon inspection, the individual saw a group of men pouring lighter fluid over a fox and setting it on fire with a lighter, police said.
The fox managed to escape but was badly burned. The extent of the animal’s injuries – or whether it survived the horrific assault – are unknown.
Investigators determined that the group of men regularly go the area in the early morning hours and previously captured and tortured foxes. Police said the group has started fires to smoke the foxes out of their dens and set their dogs on them.
“I am truly shocked and sickened by these appalling, cruel incidents and I would appeal to anyone with information to come forward so we can catch those responsible and prevent any more foxes from being hurt,” Detective Constable James Mahoney said in a statement.
Mahoney has urged surrounding residents to check doorbell, dash cam, or CCTV footage “in case you’ve captured these heinous crimes or a group of males matching the description loitering around.”