POLICE are hunting those responsible for burning a cat in the town’s Abbey Street at the weekend.
The burnt body of the cat was discovered by a businessman on Abbey Street in Coleraine town centre at around 7.40am on Saturday.
Police investigating the shocking incident say they are looking to speak to three young men who were seen in the area around the time of the attack.
The youths were filmed on a CCTV camera close to the incident.
The three, wearing dark tops, were seen at around 7.25am in the area where the cat’s body was found. Police are keen to speak to them.
An Abbey Street businessman, who reported the incident, told the Times: “The cat was lying outside the premises of Open and Direct. It was a very distressing sight, very, very bad.
“A work colleague saw three men come up from the direction of Hanover Place.
“They kicked the cat and made miaow noises at it as they passed it.”
The eyewitness said the animal was virtually unrecognisable as a cat.
“It had absolutely no fur left on it at all, just grey skin. I rang the police to report it.”
DUP Alderman McClure has condemned those responsible for the sickening attack.
He said: “This was an act of pure evil irrespective of whether or not the animal was alive or dead.
“Anyone who would carry out such a foul deed deserves to face the full rigours of the law.
“I would urge anyone who may have seen anything suspicious on Saturday night to help police with their enquiries.”
David Wilson of the USPCA also condemned the incident.
He said: “This attack is an example of absolute depravity.”
DUP MLA Adrian McQuillan has said he is “appalled and disgused at such a callous act”.
The MLA said: “The only words I can find to describe the people who carried out such an act would be barbaric and mindless.”
He added that he worries about the “state of mind” of the perpetrators and “what this might lead to.”
Constable Peter Olphert said: “We are following a definite line of enquiry.
“We want to speak to the youths identified or anyone who was in the area at the time of the incident.
“It was a despicable act, which thankfully does not happen too often.”
Police would ask that anyone with any information about this incident to contact them in Coleraine on 0845 600 8000, or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.