The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has launched an investigation after reports that an eight-year-old boy in England put his neighbour’s cat into a microwave and turned it on.

The owner claimed that he was upstairs in his home in Rochester when he heard the microwave being used.

After coming downstairs, the owner found his neighbour’s eight-year-old son had put the cat in the microwave and was standing watching it inside.

The incident was reported to the RSPCA on Saturday and officers are now looking into the case.

The owners of the cat took it to the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals charity for treatment and it is recovering but may have permanent internal damage to its organs from the microwave.

RSPCA inspector Ray Bailey said: “This was an absolutely horrendous incident and all the more shocking because of the alleged involvement of such a young child.”

As the child is under the age of ten, the RSPCA and the police are unable to prosecute him.

However Inspector Bailey has contacted the Youth Offending Team at Medway Police Station and Social Services regarding the incident.

RSPCA senior prosecutions case manager Terry Stroud said: “This is clearly shocking incident and one that the RSPCA feels certainly needs to be investigated by the appropriate authorities to find out why this happened and to work to prevent this kind of cruelty happening again.”

The RSPCA has had to prosecute 82 juveniles over the past three years, for offences including kicking a hedgehog to death, kicking guinea pigs to death and stealing a pet chicken before torturing her and ripping her head off.

The organisation has also carried out research into the reasons why young people harm animals. It showed that in the majority of cases the parents showed no concern about the harm to animals and the young people showed no remorse.

The RSPCA said it is pushing for tougher penalties for those who commit the most serious crimes against animals.

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