JUNEE’S Druce family is in shock and pain after their popular chocolate and licorice factory set the scene for a callous act of animal cruelty.
A town-wide manhunt is under way to catch the perpetrator who snuck into the property after hours and beheaded eight-week-old “Hamoosh”, a black and white poddy lamb.
There are fears the senseless crime is not a one-off – and there are people in the community who may be holding back information that could lead to an arrest.
The animal was found in the early hours of Thursday morning on factory grounds.
“This was not from a fox. He was not mauled; he was decapitated,” Neil Druce said.
“There are two levels to what we are feeling. The first one is the sadness after you’ve lost a pet – and the second is the feeling of being violated. It’s hard to understand how somebody could do this.”
The incident has been reported to police and the family has since been heartened by the many messages of support from across the Riverina on the factory’s Facebook page. On Monday, a Temora farmer reached out to fill the emptiness by donating another lamb to the Druces.
Adelong farmer Louise Freckelton, who gifted the original lamb, said it shows the extent to which the crime has shocked the community.
Ms Freckelton said it was a sad ending for Hamoosh, who had found solace with the Druces and factory workers after being abandoned by his mum at birth.
“He was so loved and so adored,” she said.
“It’s incredibly unbelievable that anyone could do something so inhumane to a lamb that had nothing but trust and love for people. That little lamb probably jumped up to the perpetrator.”
Ms Freckelton urged community members with information to come forward – for everybody’s sake.
“This is something that we should be concerned about as a community,” she said.
“There must be parents or community members who know how this happened. They should speak up, not least of which because it’s an abominable crime, but also that young person needs some sort of intervention so they don’t go and commit this to a human.
“They need help.”
Anyone with information should phone Junee police station on 6924 1144 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
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