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A hedgehog was forced to inhale cannabis smoke before being thrown into a river, the RSPCA has said.
The animal welfare charity is looking for a group of boys who were spotted blowing smoke into a bag containing the critter and then launching it into the water in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, on 10 April.
The female hedgehog was rescued by a woman who retrieved the bag from the river near Memorial Park. She then kept the animal safe overnight.
The RSPCA arrived the following day to collect it and took it to Leicestershire Wildlife Hospital for treatment.
RSPCA Inspector Karl Marston said he was shocked by the abuse and it was a "miracle" the animal had survived.
He said: “It is hard to imagine why anyone would want to deliberately attack an animal in this horrific and callous way.
“It’s shocking and upsetting and we desperately need to hear from anyone who may know anything about this incident.
“We are very grateful to the members of the public who tried to save the hedgehog and thank them for their help and support.
"Hedgehogs are in decline in the UK so anything we can do to protect them is vital."
The animal, which had just woken from hibernation, is being kept in an incubator and is now said to be recovering well.
A spokesperson for Leicestershire Wildlife Hospital added: “We are saddened and shocked to hear what has happened to this hedgehog as she would have just woken up from hibernation.
“Despite everything that has happened to her she is still fighting on - she is currently being cared for in one of our incubators.
"We have discovered that she is blind in one eye, and we don’t think this is in relation to the cruelty incident, so therefore she will remain in our care.
“She was also covered in ticks, which we have now removed.”
Anyone with any information about this incident should call the RSPCA on 0300 123 8018.
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