VANDALS have been condemned as “sick” for spraying a purple substance on animals at a farm which offers learning opportunities for young people with special needs
The community has been urged to stay on the look-out for suspects stained with the brightly-coloured antiseptic which was used against nine young goats and sheep in a field near Old Bells Farm in Everton Road, Hordle.
Pictures of the attack posted online showed how the spray, which had been taken on the farm, had even been targeted at two of the animals’ private parts.
Three names – Lez, Darren and Chris W – were scrawled in the same substance in capital letters on the walls of an outbuilding. A phallic symbol was also left on a tree.
Old Bells Farm is run by Ann George and offers visits and residential placements for young people with learning difficulties.
Mrs George said the purple stain could last for months on the animals, who despite having been bottle-fed since young had become more wary of humans since the incident.
She said: “I feel sad that these poor defenceless animals that put their trust in us have been abused in this way. We should all have greater respect for them.
“I was upset and disgusted that people could do that to some young animals. They’re only 11 months old. They were much quieter afterwards; the really purple one would not come out of the stable.
“One of the residential students looks after the goats and he was particularly upset. He said, how dare they do this to my goats? They can’t comprehend how someone could do it. Hopefully it was a one-off.”
The worst-affected goat was given a little jacket to keep warm after an attempt to sponge and brush off the purple spray to keep it from becoming an irritant, she said.
Images were posted on Facebook shortly after the attack last Sunday by Gregory Finch, the fiancé of Ann’s daughter, who urged people to share them online.
He offered a reward for information leading to the identification of the offenders. Nearly 200 people have left comments and it was shared more than 5,000 times.
Mr Finch wrote: “We are utterly gobsmacked and disgusted by this horrendous behaviour.
“We are asking for info from anybody whose kids have come home with purple on their hands, or your friends at school (it doesn’t wash off very easy and stays on for a few days), or if you hear about people boasting about their fun weekend abusing animals.”
He added: “Seriously, who gets off on spraying something up a goat’s bum?”
The post on Facebook prompted a wave of anger from local people, with many promising to watch out for anyone with hands or clothes stained purple.
One said: “Words fail me. They are sick, vile individuals. Poor animals. I hope they recover from this shocking abuse.”
Another commented: “What is wrong with people? I am sorry but these individuals have to be arrested and charged and receive prison sentences. How cruel.”
The incident was reported to Hampshire Police who asked witnesses to get in touch with any information to track down the offenders.
A force spokesperson said: “We are investigating a criminal damage incident involving farm animals which took place this weekend.
“Between 11.30am and 4.30pm on Sunday 18th November nine animals, including goats and sheep, were covered in purple spray.
“The incident took place in fields adjacent to Everton Road in Hordle. Trees and a barn were also vandalised with the purple spray.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Hampshire Police on 101, quoting 44180433037.