A north-east mum said she feared the worst after her rabbit hutch was deliberately set on fire – while her beloved pets were inside.
Kerry Powell spoke of how she “collapsed and wailed” after learning of the blaze which started underneath Flopsy and Fudge’s wooden home.
The 36-year-old law student, her partner Peter and her two young daughters Mya and Esme were asleep at their home on Peterhead’s Forman Drive when the incident happened.
They were woken by their smoke alarm.
Kerry feared her pets had been lost but once the flames were extinguished it emerged they had escaped.
She does not know how they got out of the hutch and they were later found by police officers running around the garden.
The rabbits were left “badly singed” following the ordeal but have since made a full recovery.
Kerry said she “collapsed” when her partner told her the rabbits had been targeted.
She said: “The noise will forever haunt me. It was a whirring noise and there was smoke in the kitchen.
“My first thought was to get everybody out and I thought it was something electrical on fire outside. I phoned the fire brigade.
“Peter went to let the firefighters in the back door and came back and told me it was the bunnies.
“I collapsed and wailed because I thought they had both burned.
“But how they got out of that cage I don’t know.”
Following the incident Kerry was advised to take her pets to a vet so they could be checked over.
But the busy festive period meant she was hard up for cash so a police officer suggested giving Ellon-based animal charity New Arc a call.
Not long after contact had been made the rabbits were taken into the group’s care where they were treated with medication and given regular checks by volunteers at the shelter.
As a thank you to New Arc, Kerry is raising funds for the group and has started an online crowdfunder.
She said it was the best way to repay their kindness for helping her bunnies bounce back following their terrible start to the year.
Kerry is hopeful of organising an event to help raise cash for charity and its team of dedicated volunteers.
She said: “They have been tremendous.
“They spent the whole night with the bunnies and they have not asked for a single penny. They are the most amazing people and I feel they need to recognised.
“New Arc dropped everything in the early hours of the morning to help me. They asked ‘who could be so cruel?’”
Police said their investigation into last month’s blaze is continuing.
In the appeal for information officers said the incident was a “reckless and cruel” act.