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AN animal rights group is offering a £1,000 reward to help find those responsible for inflicting cigarette burns on a Wirral pony in what has been described as a “terrible act of cruelty”.

The horrific injuries were discovered last week when 16-year-old Penny’s owner returned to the Hooton stable, after placing her there at 6.30pm the previous day.

A number of small wounds – believed to be cigarette burns – were found on the mare and thugs had also fired a staple in to one of the burn wounds.

Penny, who is just four feet high, had six burn marks in total – which are thought to be the result of a lit cigarette being pushed into the pony’s coat.

Her worried owners said they will no longer keep Penny stabled for fear of future attacks.

Animal rights group PETA is now offering £1,000 to help find those responsible for the horrific injuries on the evening of January 19.

Ben Williamson, spokesman for PETA, said: “It is imperative that any community faced with the abuse of animals take measures to find the culprit or culprits and stop the violence.

“Animal abusers are a danger to everyone – they take their issues out on whomever is available to them, human or non-human.”

The incident is currently being investigated by the RSPCA.

Animal welfare officer John Littlewood said: “This poor pony must have been in so much pain as a result of this terrible act of cruelty.

“Fortunately the wounds can be treated – but I cannot believe that someone has done this to an innocent animal and for no other apparent reason than being cruel.

“Penny is recovering well – and I now want to hear from anyone who has information regarding this incident.”

Penny was the only pony being stabled overnight in the isolated area.

Anyone with information about this case should call the RSPCA on 0300 123 8018.