Police have questioned three boys after a pet cat was allegedly tied up and beaten to death by stick-wielding yobs in a Derbyshire park.
The animal was found in Riddings Park, Riddings, on Thursday afternoon.
Derbyshire Constabulary has now issued a statement which reads: "We want to take this opportunity to reassure people that we are taking the incident extremely seriously and that we will continue to work alongside the RSPCA to establish what has happened.
"Detectives, along with the local Safer Neighbourhood team, are leading an investigation into the death of the cat and officers have interviewed three boys in connection with the incident.
"The cat’s death has understandably sparked a great deal of emotion with members of the public.
"During the course of our enquiries, we have been made aware of a number of social media posts, some of which are threatening in nature. It is important that people remember that they themselves could be reported to police if explicit threats or other malicious messages are made.
"If people have information relating to the incident then we need to hear from them directly. If you can help with our investigation, please call us on 101. You can also call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111."
On Facebook, the mum of the family the cat belonged to said the incident had left them devastated.
She said: "I simply cannot understand how anybody could do this? He was so friendly and fussy that I imagine he approached them willingly and no doubt purring. My only condolence is that he couldn’t have suffered for long, though that brings us little comfort.
"I want this post shared: to warn other cat lovers of the dangers on their doorstep and with the tiniest shred of hope that somebody may be able to offer some information."