Children have been filmed pelting a squirrel with stones, hanging it from a tree and then setting it on fire as the RSPCA warn about an alarming rise in cruel attacks on helpless animals.
The charity has received 119 complaints already this year of disturbing footage being shared on Snapchat.
This was an increase on 69 reports last year and 27 reports in 2015.
In this clip from September pupils posted footage of them dropping a brick on a squirrel, lynching it and setting it on fire using a spray can and a lighter
In a video from September a number of pupils from Wilmington School for Boys in Kent posted footage of them dropping a brick on a squirrel, lynching it and setting it on fire using a spray can and a lighter.
The film was posted on Snapchat and Instagram with laughing emojis and the caption: ‘WTF is wrong with us.’
The boys, believed to be 14 to 15 years old, claimed the squirrel was dead when they found it.
They were excluded from the grammar school and made to do community service.
In a separate clip, a squirrel was shown being hit with a large stone, dragged along the ground by its tail and then hung round a tree and set alight, to shrieks of laughter.
The RSPCA said the video was posted on Snapchat and officials have visited a school, that has not been named, to speak with pupils and parents.
Officials have not confirmed where it happened and said it was not clear whether the animal was alive or dead at the time.
INCIDENTS REPORTED TO THE RSPCA
A guinea pig thrown down the stairs
A tortoise fed drugs
A wild rabbit hit with a log and stabbed with a pen
A sheep beaten to death with a golf club
A goldfish’s eye cut out
A puppy thrown into a river
A fox cub’s throat slit
A cat choked and suffocated
Two chickens beaten to death
The RSPCA has called for improved animal welfare education in schools after a rise in the number of animal cruelty reports.
The charity has already received 119 complaints this year.
Videos shared on Snapchat include a goldfish having its eyes cut out, a sheep beaten to death with a golf club, a tortoise fed drugs and a fox cub being attacked.
In some of the videos, people can be heard laughing in the background.
In another sick film three children shared a video of them torturing a goat at the Hopefield Animal Sanctuary in Essex. They also pushed over a pig and targeted horses.
Lianne Angliss, the manager of the Brentwood-based sanctuary, said: ‘I don’t think you can publish what I think of these people.
‘They just thought they were being clever and obviously with it being social media didn’t realise people would pick up on it.
‘It is sad. Nathan the goat came from a background where he didn’t trust people and since that night he doesn’t come up to you to say hello and won’t go near the fence.
‘Our animals at Hopefield have been through so much already and are rescued from neglect and abuse cases, so to come here where they should feel safe and loved and to then endure more cruelty at the hands of these truly awful people is unthinkable.’
This video uploaded to Snapchat showed a helpless goldfish having its eye cut out
The RSPCA’s special operations unit said it fears the social media platform makes the people creating the videos and images feel ‘invincible and untraceable’ because the post disappears after 10 seconds.
An officer said: ‘What’s even more concerning than the 340% increase in reports of videos of animal cruelty on Snapchat in just two years, is the level of cruelty being seen’.
‘While many of these videos shows acts of animal cruelty that are at the lower end of severity – such as teenagers chasing geese or throwing stones at birds – a worrying number of them show serious acts of brutality.
‘When you consider that Snapchat is particularly popular with children and young teenagers, it’s particularly troubling that they could easily be witnessing animals being beaten, tortured and even killed in graphic detail.
‘Not only are young people seeing these heinous acts but, most of the time, it is also young people who are witnessed in the videos carrying out these sickening incidents or are often the ones who share them.’
The charity said it is receiving three complaints a week of ‘brutal cruelty’ on the social media app, with children posting images of abusing animals.
One showed a horse fed cigarettes, while another showed a goat pulled repeatedly into an electric fence to hoots of laughter.
A spokesman for Snapchat said: ‘This sort of cruelty is illegal. We encourage anyone who sees something like this anywhere to report it.’