Vile cruelty as firework strapped to rabbit 

An animal welfare charity has offered a £500 reward for information after a firework was strapped to a wild rabbit in a gross act of cruelty.

The USPCA stepped in over what its chief executive Brendan Mullan branded a "barbaric abuse of our local wildlife" in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. 

The discovery by a local community worker of the animal was made in the early hours of Tuesday morning, close to Bracken Avenue in the Co Down seaside town.

The shocking incident was believed to have taken place late on Monday evening.

The charity is appealing to anyone who might have information on the crime to bring it to the PSNI.

Mr Mullan said it was beyond comprehension why anyone would carry out such a callous act.

"This is a horrific incident and we are appalled to see such barbaric abuse of our local wildlife," he said.

"We cannot comprehend the motives of the individuals who carry out such brutal attacks against vulnerable animals like this.

"Unfortunately, this is a stark reminder of the many challenges we are facing with regards to animal welfare in Northern Ireland.

"We are encouraging anyone with information that may assist the PSNI in their investigation to contact them on the 101 number."

Police are investigating the incident.