Published: 00:00, 26 November 2015
| Updated: 12:31, 26 November 2015
Kent Police has issued a warning about threatening behaviour after a strong public reaction to the sentencing of four teenagers convicted of torturing a dog.
A police spokesman said: "Kent Police is aware people are upset about an animal cruelty case which has been widely reported.
"Although the story is distressing, we would remind people that making direct threats towards others in reaction, either via the phone or on social media and websites, can be considered an offence as well."
A 25-year-old man from Ramsgate has been issued with an £90 fixed penalty notice for malicious communications.
The warning comes after it was reported that Chunky, a chihuahua cross, was stolen, set on fire and dumped at a rubbish tip in Manston Road, Margate, with a broken neck and leg.
And a petition calling for a review into animal cruelty sentencing has gained more than 60,000 signatures.
The campaign calls on David Cameron to stop people who abuse animals from ever being allowed to own pets again.
A separate petition set up by Margate campaigner Louise Oldfield is calling for the Ministry of Justice to review the case, which RSPCA inspector Caroline Doe called "the most disturbing case I have ever dealt with".
The petition, which has more than 5,000 signatures, calls the sentence "unacceptably lenient" and requests an "urgent review" of the case.
The four teenagers were banned from keeping animals for five years after pleading guilty to torturing the puppy.
Three of the youths, two aged 16 and one aged 15 at the time of the offence, previously admitted kicking and punching the chihuahua cross, before breaking his leg and neck, setting him on fire, feeding him drugs and dumping him at a rubbish tip.
The teenagers pleaded guilty in October to cruelly ill-treating the animal in a way which they knew would cause him to suffer unnecessarily, and were all disqualified from keeping all animals for five years, given a referral order for 12 months and ordered to pay costs.
And animal rights campaign organisation PETA has today sent letters and educational material to primary schools in Margate.
The group says the information is designed to help children recognise the importance of having empathy for all living beings and to prevent further abuse.
It believes that abusing animals can lead to continued antisocial behaviour, from further acts of cruelty against animals to bullying, aggression and violence towards humans.
PETA spokesman Elisa Allen said: "This dog's agonising experience is a painful reminder that we must teach young people kindness towards all living beings if we want to prevent any further acts of cruelty".
"Instilling empathy in children and teaching them to take responsibility for any animals in their care are vital. The safety of the whole community might depend on it."
After a miraculous recovery Chunky has now been returned to his owners in Margate.
More by this authorJulia Collins
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