More than 100 dead animals were found dumped in a river, a wildlife charity said today.
The creatures, which included ducks, cats and ferrets, were starved before being tossed into Cripps River in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset.
Police launched an investigation after the gruesome discovery on Friday by a motorist who had stopped at the side of the road for a break.
Some of the animals were rescued alive by the Secret World wildlife rescue centre.
Pauline Kidner, from Secret World, based at East Huntspill, said live ferrets were eating a dead cat in a cage when they were found.
She said: "It was quite sickening to see how they were contained. They had been left to die."
A live kitten found at the scene had been found a home and several ferrets were being looked after at the centre, she added.
The condition of the animals was very poor and the opinion is that they had died from starvation.
Ms Kidner added: "Thankfully the ferrets and the kitten were still alive.
"If anyone saw anything suspicious on this road in the last 24 hours, please contact Secret World immediately on 01278 783250."
An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman added: "We would urge anyone with information to come forward."Reuse content