by Hayley Robinson
A pet rabbit was mauled to death by another animal after thieves let it loose to steal its cage.
Murphy’s pointless death has devastated his 11-year-old owner Lauren Sonley.
The Year 7 student, who attends The Westlands School, said: “I feel angry.
"He was supposed to move to our new house at Easter but he never got to see where he would be living. I miss him so much. It’s as if someone has murdered him.”
The one-year-old dwarf lop was being looked after by the youngster’s grandmother, Kathy Gifford, on land next to her house in Boxted Lane, Newington, while Lauren’s mum Sarah Sonley carried out refurbishment works to their new home.
The bunny, which was kept in a hutch with a connecting run, was due to move to the property in The Street, Iwade, over the Bank Holiday weekend but sometime between 6.30pm on Tuesday, March 26 and 7.30am the following day the culprits struck.
Mrs Gifford discovered the animal dead in her garden. At first she assumed it had freed itself from the enclosure.
It was only when she went to see how it had escaped she discovered his home was missing.
A trail of hay leading to the locked entrance of the field indicated the offenders had lifted it over the gate before making off with it - possibly in a vehicle.
The incident has been reported to the police.
Mum-of-one Mrs Sonley works as a senior nurse at Wigmore Veterinary Centre, in Maidstone Road, Rainham.
She said: “We last saw Murphy at around 4pm on the Tuesday when we went to feed him and check he was alright. You could see the hutch from the road but everything was OK.
“When mum called to say he was dead and the hutch had disappeared off the face of the earth I couldn’t believe it.
“When I told Lauren what had happened she said ‘why would anyone do something like that?’ She doesn’t understand. She’s been in tears about it.”
Anyone with any information is asked to call Kent police on the non-emergency number 101 quoting reference number XY/9550/13.