Footage has emerged of an off-duty police officer in Australia stoning a wombat to death for fun.
The disturbing video shows Senior Community Constable Waylon Johncock throwing large rocks at the defenceless wombat after giving a thumbs-up sign to the camera.
Johncock and another individual had been following the wombat along a dirt road in South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula. After striking the terrified creature on the head, Johncock could be seen raising his arms and smiling triumphantly while his companion laughed.
As reported by news.com.au, Police Commissioner Grant Stevens has confirmed the individual in the video was indeed a police officer:
I find the actions portrayed in the footage to be totally abhorrent and unacceptable.
I am aware of the community outrage regarding this matter. I want to reassure everybody that the actions in the video do not align with the values and behaviours I expect from my employees, nor does it align with community standards.
Numerous employees of South Australia Police have also expressed to me that they, too, find the footage detestable and not consistent with their values.
A spokesperson from South Australia Police told news.com.au the incident was now being investigated:
South Australia Police are aware of a social media video depicting an incident involving a man inflicting injuries upon a wombat.
At this time SAPOL can confirm they are taking the situation very seriously and are closely examining the video.
An inquiry is being undertaken into this matter to first formally identify the man; and then take appropriate action as required.
The footage in question was sent to the Wombat Awareness Organisation by horrified members of the public, with the organisation expressing disgust and horror at this repugnant act of animal cruelty.
Following this incident, the Wombat Awareness Organisation has created a Change.org petition calling to improve the protection of native animals under the Animal Welfare Act.
Sharing the petition via Facebook, a representative from the Wombat Awareness Organisation wrote:
I have dedicated my entire life to saving these beautiful animals and here is the polar opposite. Hurts my heart and this is something I will never forget. May this baby not have suffered and died in vain.
At the time of writing, the petition has gained more than 24,000 signatures, with many people calling for Johncock to be dismissed and prosecuted.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.