Youths force hedgehog to smoke cannabis then threw her into river

The animal is recovering in hospital (Image: RSPCA)

The youths blew cannabis smoke into a bag containing the female hedgehog in the sickening abuse. Witnesses then saw them tip the bag out into a river and rushed to grab the creature.

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The hedgehog - which would have only just emerged from hibernation at the time of its ordeal - was collected by the RSPCA the following day, Leicestershire Live reports.

It's since been treated at Leicestershire Wildlife Hospital near Kibworth, where she remains in an incubator but is recovering well.

“We are extremely grateful to the members of the public for saving this poor hedgehog’s life and for keeping her safe overnight until we were able to collect her and take her to the hospital," RSPCA Inspector Karl Marston said.

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"I am frankly quite shocked by what I have been told has potentially happened to this poor hedgehog and it is a miracle that she survived given all she has been through."

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