In Winchester, a city and the town council of the UK’s Hampshire, England, a hunt is underway to find the individual or individuals responsible for the abuse and torture of an innocent hedgehog, who has been given the name Valerie by the veterinary staff who saved her life after her unknown assailants snapped a pair of cable ties around her neck. Valerie, a name said to mean healthy and strong, was brought to an off-hours vet clinic in Winchester, having been found near a local park.
The vet and assistants removed the cable ties and then proceeded to treat Valerie’s wounds, applying Manuka honey dressings and disinfectants before administering pain relief, fluids, and antibiotics. While the poor hedgehog isn’t back to her full health yet, she’s recovering well and being closely observed by a vet nurse named Amy Kneller in her home. Per Kneller, the way in which the ties were tightened around Valerie’s neck made it clear whoever performed this sick act was being deliberately cruel.
“I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve not seen many intentional cruelty cases in my career,” Kneller said. “However, I was horrified by what had been done to this young hedgehog. The injuries she sustained were very similar to a cat collar injury and must have been very painful. It’s great that she’s recovering and her neck wound has completely healed but, unfortunately, it’s unlikely she’ll put on enough weight to be able to hibernate this year.”
According to Fay Vass, who is the chief executive for Britain’s Hedgehog Preservation Society, she was completely sickened when she heard about Valerie’s attack, and she praised the staff involved with her life-saving care. “The pain and fear this poor animal must have gone through at the hands of its torturers is unimaginable. Thank goodness it is now safe and receiving the care and treatment it so needs…Let us ensure these people have the fullest, most severe punishment possible for carrying out such a cowardly attack.”
While they were once common around the UK, estimated around 30 million total in the ‘50s, hedgehogs now number less than a million throughout the United Kingdom. This decline is thought to be the result of habitat loss in the countryside and towns, death by cars, and possibly a rise in predators like badgers. With these facts being more well-known nowadays, Britain’s Hedgehog Preservation Society launched a 10-year, joint conservation effort with the People’s Trust for Endangered Species just for the hedgehog, which was voted the UK’s favorite wild animal.
Photo By Aleks_Sg