SAN DIEGO -- A $3,000 reward is now being offered for information on an animal cruelty case involving 15 hedgehogs that were dumped in an Ocean Beach trash can Thursday.
Five of the animals were dead, one was in grave condition and some of them were found languishing in a sealed plastic garbage bag.
The discovery in the 4600 block of Voltaire Street was reported about 10:15 a.m., according to the county Department of Animal Services.
The animal control officer who responded to the call found several of the spiny exotic mammals loose in the refuse bin, then noticed a trash bag near them moving. He tore open the tied-shut sack and found more hedgehogs inside it.
One of the surviving animals had to be euthanized due its extremely poor condition, DAS Director Dan DeSousa said. The remaining nine were taken to the county agency's Gaines Street shelter and were expected to survive.
It was unclear who discarded the hedgehogs, an act that could lead to criminal charges of animal abandonment and felony animal cruelty.
"Hedgehogs are very shy, timid creatures and for someone to tie them up in trash bags and throw them away is unconscionable," DeSousa said.
"Someone needs to come forward with information so we can hold whoever did this cruel act accountable."
The hedgehogs will not be made available for adoption because it is illegal in California to own the animals, which are native to Africa, Asia and Europe.
Anyone with information about the case was asked to call the animal services agency at 619-767-2740.