A heartbroken cat owner has told how she was ”hysterical” after pictures were posted on Snapchat following the death of her much-loved family pet.
Three-year-old moggy Leo had been tied up and had fractures all over his body including broken ribs, a broken neck and a bulging eye.
Mother-of-two, Katie Dowler-Chell, 31, of Broughton Close, Riddings, told the Derbyshire Times: “When I opened the message with the pictures I felt physically sick. I was hysterical.
“To think that they got some sort of pleasure out of it is very upsetting. I cannot get my head around it.”
Leo was found dead last Thursday in Riddings Park.
Three boys, aged 15, 16 and 17, have been voluntarily interviewed in connection with the incident. All three have been reported for summons and will attend court. No date has yet been revealed for that hearing.
Single mum Katie said Leo was such a lovely cat and she could not tell her two boys Lucas, aged six and Elijah-Flynn, aged four, exactly what happened.
“I don’t think I ever will tell them,” she said. “I have told them that Leo got run over. They are very sad. They keeping looking for him around the house.”
Katie added: “When I got the call from the RSPCA I could tell the woman was struggling to tell me what had happened.
“My stomach fell and I just sat down very quickly. I cannot comprehend it.”
More than £2,000 has been donated to a fundraising page for Leo’s cremation and memorial box. The target of £300 was raised within hours of it being launched.
Some of the additional cash raised is set to go to Swanwick’s Woodland Nook Cat Rescue Centre, where Ms Dowler-Chell volunteers.
More than 350 people from the Amber Valley district have also signed a national petition calling for an increase in the maximum sentence for animal cruelty charges.
Following the incident, animal rights organisation, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), has sent humane-education materials to primary schools in the Riddings area to help educate children on the importance of empathy for animals.
Director at PETA, Elisa Allen, said: “Instilling empathy in children and teaching them to respect others, human and non-human alike, is vital. The safety of the whole community depends on it.”