Police in Edinburgh are appealing for witnesses following an apparent attack on three chickens in Wester Drylaw Place.
The incident occurred overnight between Wednesday, January 7 and Thursday, January 8. The suspects initially attempted to gain access to a garden shed, but were unsuccessful.
They then opened the chicken coop to the rear of the garden and killed one of the chickens that was residing inside.
A second chicken was badly injured, however it is believed it will survive. The third chicken was found unharmed in a neighbouring garden at around lunchtime today (Thursday).
The family kept the chickens as pets and is very distressed by these events. Police Scotland is currently conducting a joint investigation with the Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Scottish SPCA), who will carry out a post mortem at a later date.
Police Sergeant Stuart Mitchell said: “This was a horrifying crime, which has left the family, and their children, in a state of shock.
“We are appealing for any witnesses who may have seen people loitering in the Wester Drylaw area last night to contact us.
“This type of incident is completely unacceptable and we are conducting active enquiries in the area.”
Scottish SPCA Inspector June Chalcroft said: “This appears to have been a malicious attack, resulting in the death of one of the chickens and the injury of another.
“Hopefully the results of the post-mortem will explain the cause of death. Thankfully a third chicken, which was missing, has been found safe and well.
“We believe someone may have heard something as the chickens would have made a lot of noise during the incident.
Anyone who has information about this incident is urged to contact Police Scotland immediately on 101, or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Alternatively the public can contact the Scottish SPCA on 03000 999 999.”