KINSTON, LENOIR COUNTY - Editor's note: The following details are graphic.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is now pitching in to help find whoever tortured some pet rabbits and left them to die in Lenoir County.
The ASPCA announced Thursday it has added $1,500 to reward pool. Including the $500 from a private donor and another $500 from the Lenoir County SPCA, the total reward is now at $2,500.
The owner of the rabbits, Shelby Clark, said she realized something was amiss when she woke up Saturday morning at her home on North Queen Street in Kinston.
The cages where the family kept the rabbits had been moved and the blanket that covered the cages had been tossed, said Clark. Two of the rabbits were missing, and two others were tortured and left to die.
One of those rabbits was skinned alive, causing it to die a day later, Clark said. Another rabbit's head was cut off. The person who decapitated the rabbit left its head, but took the body, Clark told NewsChannel 12
"I don't know why anyone would do this," Clark said. "I still get emotional when I talk about it, because what they did was terrible."
Clark said police offered two possible motives for the crime: it could be Halloween-related or someone just wanted to be cruel.
"I don't want this to happen to anybody else," Clark said. "I hope they find out who did this."
Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the Kinston Public Safety Tips Line at (252) 939-4020.