Stricken animal found with cable ties wrapped around her neck

Staff at Vets Now in Winchester have been praised for saving the life of a hedgehog after it was targeted by cruel animal torturers.

The spiky creature, who has been named Valerie, meaning strong and healthy, was brought into our clinic on a Sunday night suffering from horrendous injuries to her neck.

It is thought someone had deliberately placed cable ties around her. Our horrified vets and vet nurses managed to find the time during a busy out-of-hours shift to remove the ties and treat Valerie’s wounds.

They applied manuka honey dressing and some disinfectant before administering fluids, pain relief and antibiotics.

While Valerie is still not back to full health, she is on the road to recovery and is being kept under close observation at the home of Brenna, one of our clinic staff.

Image of an injured hedgehog for Vets Now article on what to do if you find a hedgehog
Valerie was brought into our clinic on a Sunday night suffering from horrendous injuries to her neck

Vet nurse Amy Kneller, who helped treat the hedgehog, said it was clear from the way the cable ties had been tightened that it had been a deliberate act of cruelty.

She said: “I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve not seen many intentional cruelty cases in my career, 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.”

Our vets and vet nurses regularly treat cats who have suffered injuries to their necks and armpits as a result of poorly-fitted collars.

Image of a sick hedgehog for Vets Now article on found a baby hedgehog
It's thought someone had deliberately placed cable ties around Valerie's neck

Once a common sight, with an estimated population of 30 million in the 1950s, there are now fewer than one million hedgehogs in the UK.

Their decline is believed to be down a combination of factors, including loss of habitat in towns and countryside, road deaths and a possible rise in predator numbers such as badgers.

In 2015, the People’s Trust for Endangered Species and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society launched a joint, 10-year conservation strategy for the species, which has been voted the nation’s favourite wild animal.

Fay Vass, chief executive of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, said she was sickened to hear about Valerie’s plight.

She said: “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.

“We ask that anyone who has any information about this attack contact the police on 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or the RSPCA on 0300 123 8018. Let us ensure these people have the fullest most severe punishment possible for carrying out such a cowardly attack.”

For more information on what to do if you find a sick, injured or baby hedgehog visit the RSPCA or British Hedgehog Preservation Society.